Skip to main content

Full text of "The natural history of cage birds; their management, habits, food, diseases, treatment, breeding, and the methods of catching them"

See other formats


277 353 









BY J. M. BECHSTEIN, M.D., &c. &c. 






THE Natural History of CAGE BIRDS, which I now lay 
before the public, is a work I have long been solicited to 
write. There are many people who like to keep birds, 
who neither know their habits nor the proper treatment 
or food reojlisite for them. Even those who are not alto- 
gether ignorant of these, often have but very limited, 
superficial, and, what is worse, sometimes erroneous ideas 
on the subject. It fe for such readers I have given the 
following Introduction; for professed naturalists will find 
nothing there but what they have already learnt, either 
from my own works or from those of other authors on 
natural history. 

If long experience and minute observation on the sub- 
ject of his work is calculated to gain an author credit, I 
flatter myself that this will not be denied me, since 
from my earliest youth I have delighted in being sur- 
rounded with birds, and am so accustomed to them that 
I cannot write at my desk with pleasure, or even with 
attention, unless animated by the warbling of the pleasing 
little creatures which enliven my room. My passion 
is carried so far, that I always nave about thirty birds 
around rne, and this has naturally led me to consider iha 



best and easiest mode of procuring them, as well as of 
feeding and preserving them in health. Few amateurs, 
therefore, are better fitted than myself to write on this 
subject ; and I hope I have done it to the satisfaction of 
the public. I ought also to notice in this place the plan 
of my work, as my book may fall into the hands both of 
those who might feel a wish to learn more particulars, 
and of those who may think much less would have 

I have described all the indigenous European birds with 
which I am acquainted that are capable of being tamed, 
and are pleasing in the house. As to foreign ones, I have 
only spoken of those I have occasionally seen in Germany, 
and which can be procured without much difficulty. 

I have followed the same plan in their natural history 
which I have pursued in my other works on birds. 

DESCRIPTION. Under this head I have entered into 
particular details, in order that the amateur may the 
better satisfy himself in discriminating the species and 
the sex of the bird before him. This knowledge is ex- 
ceedingly necessary, as the bird-dealers are not very scru- 
pulous in deceiving their customers, either by selling one 
species for another, or a female for a male. These descrip- 
tions may likewise have the advantage of inspiring a taste 
for ornithology in the bosom of a mere amateur, who may, 
by repeated observations, afterwards enrich this branch of 
natural history with his own remarks. 

HABITATION. On forming a wish to possess any par- 
ticular bird, it is natural to try to discover what situations 


it frequents in order to find it, and when it has been found 
and secured, a desire to know the best place to keep it in 
follows as a matter of course. 

jr oor) . l n keeping tame birds it is most important to 
know what food is best adapted to each species ; that is 
to say, what, approaches nearest to its natural aliment. 
I have therefore divided the directions on this point into 
two parts ; showing in the first the natural food of the 
bird in its wild state, and in the second what is best for it 
in confinement. 

BREEDING. Many birds succeed best when reared from 
the nest, which makes it necessary to speak of their man- 
ner of being hatched, and the like. 

DISEASES. Birds being very tender creatures, on pass- 
ing from a state of liberty to slavery, in which they lose 
the means of exercise and proper food, are soon afflicted 
with many diseases occasioned by this change alone, with- 
out reckoning others that naturally follow in their train. 
Under this head I endeavour to point out these, and their 
proper treatment; but I confess that this is the most 
imperfect part of my work, and I wish some clever expe- 
rienced medical man would take the trouble to render it 
more correct. 

CHASE. On going into the country a wish often arises 
to procure a bird, and therefore under this head I have 
described the method of catching such species as may be 


ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Under this head I have stated 
the properties which render a bird worthy of our notice, 
and of being tamed and kept in the house. 

The volume ends with an alphabetical index, which will 
enable a person instantly to find the birds whose history 
he requires. May my work be as useful as it is my wish 
to make it, and my intentions will be accomplished. 


THE call for a second edition is no inconsiderable proof 
to me that I accomplished my purpose in the first. None 
of my works have had a more flattering reception, from all 
classes of readers ; but particularly from some of the most 
distinguished, who have given me repeated proofs of their 
satisfaction. I have also had the pleasure of assisting 
many amateurs with my experience, who have honoured 
me with questions. This pleasure is now increased by 
being able to render these instructions general, and to 
perfect this new edition by later observations, some com- 
municated by others, which I judged it right to introduce. 
If any reader is surprised at not finding in this work many 
fojeign birds seen in France, Holland, or in some of the 
maritime towns of Germany, it is because I have never 
had an opportunity of observing them myself : in a word, 
it is very pleasing to me to feel that my work has increased 
the number of the lovers of natural history ; and I hope 
to see them still increasing. It is, indeed, my earnest wish 


that it may contribute more and more to the love of that 
class of attractive creatures with which the Creator has 
adorned 'the earth, and which sing His praises so melo- 
diously and unceasingly ! 


A NEW edition of my Natural History of Cage Birds 
having been called for, 1 have made many additions and 
improvements in the work, as will appear on comparison. 
Some have alleged that I have been too diffuse in my 
descriptions, and others find fault that I have introduced 
birds difficult to tame, such as the gold-crested wren and 
the common wren. In the latter case, at least, the most 
ample details are excusable, as the birds require more care ; 
yet I know several amateurs who always have one or two 
wrens flying about a room, or in a cage, and to let loose so 
delicate a little bird as the gold-crested wren always gives 
great pleasure. Besides, the minutest detail can never, in 
such cases, do any harm. I have likewise added some 
foreign birds, several of which have been but recently 
introduced in this country by bird dealers. 

November, 1812. 



THE work of Dr. BECHSTEIN upon CAGE BIRDS has 
been so highly esteemed on the Continent that it has 
passed through several editions, both in the original and in 
translations. Besides rendering as faithfully as care could 
effect, the interesting details of the author, numerous notes 
have been added, as well as several species introduced, 
which have recently been kept with success in this country 
by the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Herbert, Mr. Sweet, Mr. 
Blyth, and others. The mode of management also pecu- 
liar to these, and so different in some points from that 
recommended by Dr. Bechstein, has been given in detail. 
It is to be hoped that this translation may have similar 
success, and produce similar effects in increasing the taste 
for Natural History, which the original has had on the 
Continent. It is proper to add, that the drawings of 
cages, which illustrate this edition, were selected by per- 
mission of Mr. Cato, Holborn Bridge, from the numerous 
elegant specimens which his stock contains. 

November, 1837. 




BY CAGE BIRDS, I mean those kept by amateurs, for 
amusement, in their apartments, generally selected for sweet- 
ness of song or beauty of plumage ; but the naturalist has other 
reasons for surrounding himself with these pleasing creatures : 
they enliven him, and he delights in studying their habits and 
characters. To attain these objects it is necessary, in the first 
place, to be able to distinguish readily between the males and 
females, since the former are generally superior in their powers 
of song, and therefore; preferable. I have, for this reason, made 
a point, in the following sketch of the history of house birds, 
of showing the colours and other marks which characterise the 
two sexes ; and, as all birds cannot be tained, whilst many 
others offer no indu cement to make the attempt, it follows 
that those about to be spoken of must necessarily be but a 
small proportion of all the known species of birds. 



WHAT is most prized and admired in house birds is un- 
doubtedly their song. This may be natural or artificial, the 
former being as varied as the species of the birds, for I know 
of no two indigenous species quite similar in their song ; I 
ought, perhaps, to except the three species of shrike I have 
given, which, from their surprising memory, can imitate the 
songs of other birds so as to be mistaken for them : but a 
naturalist would soon perceive a slight mixture of the song 
natural to the imitator, and thus easily distinguish between 
the shrike that copied, and the tit-lark or red-breast copied 
from*. It is so much the more important to be well versed 
in the different birds' songs, as to this knowledge alone we 
are indebted for several curious observations on these pretty 

An artificial song is one borrowed from a bird that the young 
ones have heard singing in the room, a person's whistling, a 
flageolet, or a bird-organ. Nearly all birds, when young, 
will learn some strains of airs whistled or played to them regu- 
larly every day ; but it is only those whose memory is capable 
of retaining these that will abandon their natural song, and adopt 
fluently, and repeat without hesitation, the air that has been 
taught them. Thus, a young goldfinch learns, it is true, some 
part of the melody played to a bullfinch, but it will never be 
able to render it as perfectly as this bird ; a difference not 
caused by the greater or less suppleness of the organ, but rather 
by the superiority of memory in the one species over that of 
the other. 

We distinguish in birds a chirping and warbling, or song, 
properly so called ; besides this, several species, with a large, 
fleshy, undivided tongue, are able to repeat articulate sounds, 
and they are then said to talk, such as parrots and jays. 

It is remarkable, that birds which do not sing all the year, 
such as the redbreast, siskin, and goldfinch, seem obliged, after 
moulting, to learn to warble, as though they had forgotten ; 
but I have seen enough to convince me that these attempts are 

* Sec reasons for doubting this conclusion in Profesror Rennic's DOMESTIC 


merely to render the larynx pliant, and are a kind of chirping, 
the notes of which have but little relation to the proper song ; 
for a slight attention will discover that the larynx becomes 
gradually capable of giving the common warble. 

This method of recovering the song does not then show 
deficiency of memory, but rigidity occasioned by the disuse of 
the larynx. The chaffinch will exercise itself in this way some 
weeks before it attains its former proficiency, and the nightin- 
gale practises as long the strains of his beautiful song, before 
he gives it full, clear, and in all its extent *. 

The strength and compass of a bird's voice depend on the 
size and proportionate force of the larynx. In the female it is 
weak and small, and this accounts for her want of song. None 
of our woodland songsters produces more striking, vigorous, 
and prolonged sounds than the nightingale ; and none is known 
with so ample and strong a larynx : but as we are able to im- 
prove the organisation of the body by exercise and habit, so 
may we strengthen and extend the larynx of several birds of 
the same species, so as to amplify the song in consequence, by 
more nutritive food, proper care, sounds that excite emulation, 
and the like ; chaffinches, bullfinches, canaries, and other birds 
reared in the house, furnish daily examples of this. 

I should not omit mentioning here an observation of Mr. 
Daines Barington t, which tends to prove the possibility of 
improving the song of wild birds, by rearing linnets, sparrows, 
and others, near some good warbler, such as a nightingale or 
canary, and then setting them at liberty ; but, though there 
is some truth in this assertion, yet it is subject to certain restric- 
tions. I only know of two ways of carrying this idea into 
execution ; one by suspending the cages of the best warblers 
in the orchard where the birds which they are to teach breed ; 
the other, to enclose these warblers in a large aviary of iron 
wire, in the open air. There let them teach their young ones, 
which may be set at liberty as soon as they are able to fly : 
but birds taken very young from the nest, and reared, formed, 
and educated in the house, would not have instinct to find 

* This previous recording, as it is termed, is not uniform. Mr. Blyth informs 
us that he had, in the year 1833, a blackcap which struck up all at once into a loud 

t Phil. Trans, vol. Ixiii. 1773. 

B 2 


their food when set at liberty, and must perish of hunger, or 
at least die in the whiter. 

The same remarks are applicable to a work published by 
M. Gambory at Copenhagen, in the year 1800. 

I think, indeed, it is better to be contented with possessing 
in our houses artificial songs than to take so much trouble to 
alter and spoil the very delightful music of nature *. 


THE space assigned to tame birds varies according to their 
nature and destination. All are less at ease in a cage than 
when at liberty in a room, where young pine branches, cut in 
winter or early in spring, should be placed for their accommoda- 
tion t. Several, however, never sing unless confined within 
narrow limits, being obliged, as it would appear, to solace 
themselves, for the want of liberty, with their song ; conse- 
quently, birds only prized for the beauty of their plumage or 
their pleasing actions, are best placed in a room. Rather large 
birds, such as thrushes, should have a room appropriated to 
them, or be kept in a large aviary, as they give a very un- 
pleasant smell to the place which they occupy, unless carefully 
cleaned ; but their young ones may be allowed the range of 
any apartment, placing in a corner a cage or branch to rest and 
sleep on, where they may run and hop freely, seeking a roost- 
ing-place for themselves in the evening, on the fir branches 
placed for that purpose ; or in a cage with several divisions, 
into which they soon learn to retire. Some birds, such as the 

* Besides, we cannot say that there is a want of variety in this music. I may 
again quote Mr. Barington (Phil. Trans.): " The death of the male parent, just 
at the time his instructions were required, will occasion some variety in the song 
of the young ones, who will thus have their attention directed to other birds, which 
they will imitate or modify according to the conformation of their larynx; and 
they will thus create new variations, which will afterwards be imitated by their 
young ones, and become hereditary, until a circumstance of a similar nature may 
introduce greater variations. If care was taken there need not be two birds that 
sung exactly alike : however, these varieties are confined within certain limits." 

t If pine and fir branches cannot be obtained, oak, elm, or beech will do, cut ia 
winter ; though not green, yet there will be leaves. TRANSLATOR. 


dunnock and the blue-breast, sing best in this state of liberty. 
It is necessary to avoid placing them with shrikes or tits, as 
these often, in the midst of plenty of food, will kill smaller 
birds, for the sake of eating the brain or intestines. Those 
that are confined that we may better enjoy the beauty of their 
song, should have a cage proportioned to their natural vivacity : 
a lark, for example, requires a larger cage than a chaffinch. 
The habits of the birds must also be considered, whether they 
rest on the ground or perch on sticks. Thus, the nightingale 
must have perches, while the sky-lark never makes use of 

In the account of each bird I shall point out what shaped 
cage I have found most suitable. 

In every case cleanliness is absolutely necessary, in order to 
keep birds a long time, as well as healthy and active. In 
general it is better not to disturb the birds very often ; but if 
not every day, yet every week at furthest, it is necessary to 
clean even the perches of those that roost, and strew sand where 
they keep at the bottom. Negligence in this entails many 
inconveniences, unpleasant smells from sick birds, gouty feet 
to some birds, loss of the use of their limbs or all their claws ; 
such sad experience may at length cure the negligent amateur. 
" We love birds," they say ; " No," I reply, " you love your- 
selves, not them, if you neglect to keep them clean." 

In washing the feet of birds they must first be soaked in 
warm water, or the dirt will be so pasted on the skin that in 
removing it the bird will be wounded, and the irritation thus 
excited may soon occasion dangerous ulcers. House birds are 
generally subject to sore feet, and great attention is therefore 
necessary to examine them often if they are not attacked ; a 
hair wound round them will sometimes become drawn so tight 
that in time the part will shrivel up and drop off. Another 
proof of the necessity of care in cleaning is, that few birds pre- 
serve their claws after having been kept some years in the 
house. It must be confessed, however, that among birds of 
the same species there is a very marked difference in this 
respect, some being always extremely clean, whilst others are 
for ever dirty, and seldom clean themselves. There are also 
some species in which cleanliness seems an innate quality ; 
among these are yellow hammers, reed buntings, and linnets ; 


the latter especially have always appeared to me patterns of 
neatness, and though I have had many, I do not recollect being 
obliged to clean the feet of any, whilst larks and fauvettes have 
them always dirty, and let them fester with ulcers rather then 
take the trouble to clean them*. 

Many amateurs amuse themselves with taming their birds 
so completely that they can let them fly out of a window and 
recall them at pleasure. A friend of mine, who tamed not 
only birds, but also adders, otters, weasels, foxes, and the like, 
knew how to render them so familiar that at the least sign 
they would follow him anywhere. This method was as easy 
as it was sure, and I can judge of it from haying been an eye- 
witness to the effect; it is as follows.: 

When he wishes to accustom a bird to fly out and return, 
or go out of doors perched on his hand or shoulder, he begins 
by opening the cage and teazing the bird with a feather. The 
bird soon pecks at it, then at the finger, and at last ventures 
outside the cage to fly on the finger presented to it. My 
friend then caresses it, and gives it something nice to eat, so 
that it soon becomes accustomed to feed on the hand. When 
this is attained, he begins to teach it to come at a certain call, 
and as soon as it will allow itself to be taken, he carries it 
on his hand or shoulder from room to room, the doors and 
windows being at first well closed ; he also lets it fly about a 
little, making it return when called. At last, when the bird 
comes at his call, without hesitation or fear of men or animals, 
he tries it with precaution out of doors. It thus by degrees 
becomes so accustomed to him that he can take it into the 
garden, even in the midst of a large company, without any fear 
of its flying away. 

Great precaution is necessary in spring, and during the 
pairing season, when taking out old birds that have been thus 
trained ; for, upon hearing the call of their own species, they 
soon fly off to resume their wild state. Young linnets, bull- 
finches, and canaries, are the species with which this method 
succeeds best. 

* This perhaps depends on the peculiar forms of the bills more than on inclina- 
tion, for the fauvette and blackcap often attempt to clean their feet without success. 

Feeding-box for small birds. 


IT is very necessary to procure for house birds food which 
is like, or at least which nearly resembles, what they would 
procure for themselves in their wild state. This is rather 
difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, for where can we 
find in our climate the seeds on which the Indian birds feed 
in their own country ? Our only resource then is to endeavour, 
with judgment, to accustom these birds to that food which 
necessity obliges us to give them. There are some birds, such 
as chaffinches, bullfinches, thrushes, and the Bohemian chat- 
terer, which are so manageable in this respect, that as soon 
as they are brought into the house they eat without hesitation 
anything that is given to them ; but others, which are more 


delicate, will absolutely eat nothing, either through disgust of 
their new food, or despair at the loss of their liberty; with 
these great precaution is necessary. Dr. Meyer, of Offenbach, 
writes to me on this subject as follows : " The following is 
the best method of accustoming newly-taken birds to their 
change of food, a thing which is often very difficult to accom- 
plish with some species. After having put the bird in the 
cage it must be left quiet for some hours, without disturbing 
it at all ; it must then be taken and plunged into fresh water, 
and immediately replaced in the cage. At first it will appear 
faint and exhausted, but it will soon recover, arrange its feathers, 
become quite lively, and will be sure to eat whatever is given 
to it. It is a well known fact that bathing gives an appetite 
to birds, for the same reason that it does to men." 

If, as an exception, one of these delicate birds, among which 
are most of the songsters, eats with eagerness as soon as it is 
brought into the house, it is a sign of death, for it seems like 
an indifference which is not natural, and which is always the 
consequence of disease. Those birds which retire into a corner, 
moping for some hours, are the most likely to live ; it is only 
requisite to leave them alone, and by degrees they recover from 
their sullenness. 

In order to give some general rules for the best food for house 
birds, I have divided them into four classes : 

The first comprehends those birds which live only on seeds, 
such as canaries, goldfinches, and siskins. 

The second are those which feed on both seeds and insects; 
such as quails, larks, chaffinches, and bullfinches; some of 
these also eat berries and the buds of trees. 

The third are those which seek only berries and insects, such 
as nightingales, redbreasts, thrushes, and fauvettes. 

The fourth are those which eat insects only, such as wagtails, 
wheatears, stonechats, and blue-breasts. 

The species in this last class are the most difficult to 
preserve; but most of them, having nothing particular in 
their song, offer no compensation for the trouble and care 
which they require ; but the following is the best method for 
success. After having collected the flies, which in spring 
may often be seen in great numbers on the windows of old 
buildings, they must be dried, and preserved in a jar. When 


live insects can no longer be found, these flies must be mixed 
with the paste, hereafter described, which may be regarded as 
a general or universal food, and given to the most delicate 
birds, such as nightingales, provided ants' eggs or meal worms 
are now and then mixed with it. 

RECIPE FOR THE GENERAL FOOD. In proportion to the 
number of birds, white bread enough must be baked to last 
for three months. When it is well baked, and stale, it must 
be put again into the oven, and left there until cold. It is 
then fit to be pounded in a mortar, and will keep several 
months without becoming bad. Every day a tea-spoonful for 
each bird is taken of this meal, on which is poured three 
times as much cold, er lukewarm, but not boiling, milk. If 
the meal be good, a firm paste will be formed, which must be 
chopped very small on a board. This paste, which is veiy 
nourishing, may be kept a long time without becoming sour 
or sticky ; on the contrary, it is always dry and brittle. As 
soon as a delicate bird is brought in, some flies or chopped 
worms should be mixed with the paste, which will attract it to 
eat. It will soon be accustomed to this food, which will keep 
it in life and health. 

Experience teaches me that a mixture of crushed canary, 
hemp, and rape-seed, is the favourite food of canaries ; gold- 
finches and siskins prefer poppy-seed, and sometimes a little 
crushed hemp -seed; linnets and bullfinches like the rape- seed 
alone. It is better to soak it for the young chaffinches, bull- 
finches, and others ; in order to do this, as much rape-seed as 
is wanted should be put into a jar, covered with water, and 
placed in a moderate heat, in winter near the fire, in summer 
in the sun. If this is done in the morning, after feeding the 
birds, the soaked seed will do for the next morning. All of 
them ought to have green food besides, as chickweed, cabbage 
leaves, lettuce, endive, and water-cresses. Sand should be 
put in the bottom of the cages, for it seems necessary for 
digestion *. 

Amongst those of the second class, the quails like cheese 
and the crumbs of bread ; the lark barley-meal, with cabbage, 
chopped cress, poppy-seed mixed with bread crumbs, and in 

* See Rennie's "FACULTIES OP BIRDS," Chap. V., for experiments on the 
subject. TRANSLATOR. 


winter, oats; the chaffinches, rape-seed, and sometimes in 
summer a little crushed hemp-seed. Too much hemp-seed, 
however, is hurtful to birds, and should only be given as a 
delicacy now and then, for when they eat too much of it they 
become asthmatic, blind, and generally die of consumption. 
Yellow-hammers like the same food as the larks, without the 
vegetables; the tits like hemp-seed, pine-seed, bacon, meat, 
suet, bread, walnuts, almonds, and filberts. 

The birds of the first class are easily preserved in the house, 
at least if not taken during the pairing season, for then the loss 
of their liberty affects them so much that they become sullen, 
and die of hunger. 

Although the notice of a universal remedy is generally 
rather suspected, I cannot refrain from here recommending 
one or two sorts of paste which I have always used, and which 
agreed so well with all my birds, excepting those which I keep 
in cages on account of their beautiful songs, that it may justly 
be termed general or universal food : it is not only very simple 
and cheap, but also prevents great loss of time to those who 
possess a great many birds. 

THE UNIVERSAL PASTE. To make the first paste, take a 
white loaf which is well baked and stale, put it into fresh 
water, and leave it there until quite soaked through, then 
squeeze out the water and pour boiled milk over the loaf *, 
adding about two thirds of barley-meal with the bran well 
sifted out, or, what is still better, wheat-meal ; but, as this is 
dearer, it may be done without. 

For the second paste, grate a carrot very nicely (this root 
may be kept a whole year if buried in sand), then soak a 
small white loaf in fresh water, press the water out, and put 
it and the grated carrot into an earthen pan, add two handfuls 
of barley or wheat meal, and mix the whole well together with 
a pestle. 

These pastes should be made fresh every morning, as they 

* The reason of this union of vegetable and animal food may be easily seen ; 
the bread supplies the seed for the birds of the first class, and the milk the insects 
for those of the second, while the third and fourth here find their mixed food ; and 
thus it ought to agree with all. Besides, the birds of the first class do not confine 
themselves exclusively to seeds ; in their wild state they eat many insects, and 
some even feed their young entirely with them ; this proves that animal food is 
sometimes useful and beneficial to them. TRANSLATOR. 


soon become sour, particularly the first, and consequently 
hurtful. For this purpose I have a feeding-trough, round 
which there is room enough for half my birds. It is better 
to have it made of earthenware, stone, or delft ware, rather 
than wood, as being more easily cleaned, and not so likely to 
cause the food to become sour. 

The first paste agrees so well with all my birds, which are 
not more than thirty or forty, at liberty in the room, that they 
are always healthy, and preserve their feathers, so that they 
have no appearance of being prisoners. Those which live only 
on seeds, or only on insects, eat this food with equal avidity ; 
and chaffinches, linnets, goldfinches, siskins, canaries, fauvettes, 
redbreasts, all species of larks, quails, yellow-hammers, buntings, 
blue-breasts, and red-starts may be seen eating out of the 
same dish. 

Sometimes, as a delicacy, they may be given a little hemp, 
poppy, and rape-seed, crumbs of bread, and ants' eggs. One of 
these is necessary for the birds of the third and fourth class. 

Every morning fresh water must be given to the birds, both 
for drinking and bathing. When a great many are left at 
liberty, one dish will do for them all, about eight inches long 
and two in depth and width, divided into several partitions, by 
which means they are prevented from plunging entirely into 
the water, and in consequence making the place always dirty 
and damp*. A vessel of the same size and shape will do for 
holding the universal paste, but then it must have no partitions. 
Quails and larks require sand, which does for them instead of 
water for bathing. 

Some birds swallow directly whatever is thrown to them : 
great care must be taken to avoid giving them anything with 
pepper on it, or bad meat. This must be a general rule. I 
shall also remark, that food sufficient for one day only must 
be given to birds kept in cages, for they are accustomed to 
scatter it about, picking out the best, and leaving only the 
worst for the next morning ; this makes them pine, and puts 
them out of humour. 

The birds of this sort, though the finest songsters and most 

* If a rather large, flat, and not very deep vessel be used, in which the birds can 
bathe at their ease, it will make them more healthy and clean TKANSLATOR. 


interesting of all the feathered tribe, have been less known or 
noticed than others, probably owing to the greater number 
only visiting us in summer, when the trees are so densely 
clothed with foliage that birds are not easily seen, and when 
heard sing are generally considered by those who hear them to 
be either blackbirds or thrushes, or some of the more common 
singing birds. When they are seen the greater number of 
them receive the general appellation of whitethroat, without 
distinction, though this is rather singular, since they are all 
very distinct when examined, and their songs are all very 
different. If you speak to a bird-fancier or bird-catcher about 
any of them, you might as well talk of a bird in the wilds of 
America, for they know nothing of them. Many of them are 
therefore difficult to be procured in the neighbourhood- of 
London, though most of them are plentiful there. 

With care, the whole of them may be preserved in good 
health through the year, and many of them will sing through 
the greater part of the winter if properly managed. They 
require to be kept warm ; the room in which they are should 
never be allowed to be below temperate, or they will suffer 
from it, particularly the tender sorts ; at first the cold will 
make them lose their sight, after which they seldom recover. 
The redstart and nightingale are most subject to this ; it some- 
times also happens to the fauvette, and also to the whinchat. 

When in a wild state, the birds of this sort feed principally 
on insects or fruit, and berries of various kinds. None of them 
are seed birds, so that they must be managed accordingly. 
The general food which I give them is hemp-seed, bruised up 
in boiling water, as small as it can be made ; I then put to this 
about the same quantity, or rather more of bread, on which is 
also poured boiling water, and then the whole is bruised up 
together into a moist paste, particular care being required that 
there be very little or no salt in the bread ; for should there be 
rather much it will kill the whole of the birds. The food 
should also be mixed up fresh every morning, as it soon spoils 
and turns sour, in which case the birds will not touch it, and 
sometimes it will make them go off their food altogether. 
When given to the birds, some fresh, raw, lean meat ought to 
be cut up small enough for them to swallow, and mixed with it 
I generally put about the same quantity of meat as paste, and 


sometimes they will peck out the meat and leave the paste ; at 
other times they will eat the paste and leave the meat ; bu4 in 
general they eat it all up together, particularly where several 
different species are kept together in the same large cage, a plan 
which I consider by far the best, as they amuse each other, and 
keep one another warm in cold weather. Besides the above 
food, an egg should be boiled very hard, the yolk taken out 
and crumbled or cut in small pieces for them ; the white they 
will not eat. One egg I consider enough for twenty birds for 
one day, with their other food, it being only intended as a 
change of diet, which they will not continue well in health 

The sorts, which feed on insects when wild, should have 
some of these preserved for them through the winter, except 
where they can be procured at all seasons. At a baker's shop, 
for instance, there are always plenty of meal-womis, crickets, 
and cock-roaches, of which most of these birds are very fond : 
when those are not to be procured, a good substitute is the 
large white grubs that produce the cockchafers, which in some 
years are very plentiful, and may be kept in pots of turfy- 
earth through the winter, as may also the maggots of the blue- 
bottle fly, if procured late in the autumn ; and they may be 
generally had as late as December. A quantity of these, kept 
in a pot of turfy earth in a cellar, or any other cool place, 
where they may not turn into flies too soon, is, I think, one of 
the best sorts of insects, and easiest kept and procured, for such 
birds through the winter. They will not touch them until 
they are well cleaned in the mould, but are then very fond of 
them, and a few every day keeps them in excellent health, and 
provokes them to sing. 

BIRDS. Milk, which Mr. Sweet recommends, I have found 
very fatal to many of the soft-billed birds, and I never give it ; 
but the blackcaps do not seem to suffer from it. They are 
very fond of a boiled carrot mashed and moistened, or beet-root 
boiled and mashed. A boiled carrot will keep fresh many days 
in a basin of cold water, and is an excellent substitute for fruit 
in feeding them. Boiled cabbage, cauliflower, green peas are 
good for them ; all sorts of puddings ; a very little roast meat 
minced, I give them every day, and a little yolk of egg when it 


suits, but it is not necessary. The standard food is hemp-seed 
ground in a coffee-mill, and bread crumbs scalded and mashed 
up together, and fresh every day. They are very fond of ripe 
pears and elder-berries (but elder-berries stain the cage very 
much), currants, cherries, honeysuckle, and privet-berries. 

Professor Rennie says, " I have more than once given the 
blackcap and other birds a little milk by way of medicine 
when they appeared drooping or sickly, and with manifest 
advantage *." 


HOUSE birds, being most of them reared like canaries, can 
only be made pair with great difficulty. When this object is 
accomplished, all of them require a large quiet place, a whole 
room if it can be had, in which branches of pine should be put, 
a place, in fact, as much as possible resembling their natural 
abodes. But should you succeed in this respect, as you can 
never procure the materials which form the general base of 
their nests, it is better to give them artificial ones, made of the 
bark of the osier, straw, or even turnings of wood, in which it 
is only to put the soft stuff for lining, such as wool, the ravel- 
ings of silk, linen, or cotton, and the birds will take possession 
of it. 

It is of consequence that the food for paired birds, and for 
the different ages of their young ones, should be chosen with 
judgment. I shall mention what must be done in this respect, 
in the articles relating to the different species of birds which I 
am going to describe in this work. 

I must not omit two interesting observations which were 
communicated to me by a lady of my acquaintance. It some 
times happens, during a dry season, that the young birds are 
not hatched on the proper day, or are in danger of not being 
hatched at all ; if, in this case they are plunged for one minute 
in water about their own warmth, and then re-placed under the 
bird, the effect will be as quick as it is successful t. 

For the same reason, sometimes the young birds remain 

* White's Selbornei 8vo. edit., 1833. 
t See Rennie's " HABITS OF BIRDS," p. 173. TRANSLATOR. 



without their feathers beyond the proper time ; a tepid bath 
removes with such success the dryness of their quills, that in 
twenty-four hours after replacing them damp in their nest 
they are in general covered with feathers. I shall end this 
paragraph with showing at what time it is best to remove 
young wild birds from their nest when intended to be reared. 
It is when the quills of the tail feathers are come out, and the 
other feathers are begun to grow, the eyes not being quite 
open. If removed earlier, their stomach will be too weak to 
support their new food ; if taken later, it will be very difficult 
to make them open their beaks to receive a food which is 
unknown to them. There are some species, however, that are 
so easily reared, that any time will answer. 


ALL tame animals are much more subject to disease than 
wild ones ; and birds so much the more, as they are often shut 
up in very small cages, where they can take no exercise. It is 
often supposed that birds, in their natural free state, have no 
diseases ; but people who will take the trouble to observe, will 
soon perceive the falsehood of this assertion. I have often 
found hedge-sparrows full of pimples, particularly in the naked 
parts, the feet, and round the beak. Their diseases are often 
increased by the delicacies of all kinds which are given them, 
such as biscuits and sugar, which injure the stomach, and cause 
a slow decay. 

The principal diseases and their cures, according to my 
experience, are as follows ; not, however, that different birds do 
not require, according to their food, different treatment. 

I shall mention, under each bird, what must be done to cure 
those diseases which are peculiar to it, when general remedies 


This is a catarrh, or cold, by which the nostrils are stopped 
up, and the membrane covering the tongue is hardened by 
inflammation. In large birds it is common to remove this 
skin, taking it off from the base to the tip ; by this means this 


part can again perspire, the saliva necessary for digestion can 
flow, and the taste and appetite returns. A mixture of fresh 
butter, pepper, and garlic, generally cures this catarrh. It is a 
good thing, also, for the birds to drink the pectoral infusion of 
speedwell ; and the nostrils may be opened by passing up a 
small feather. The ruffling of the head, the beak often open 
and yellow at its base, and the tongue dry, are the most 
decisive indications of this disease. 


The symptoms of this disease are frequent sneezing and 
shaking of the head. Some drops of pectoral elixir in the in- 
fusion of speedwell, which the sick birds must be made to take, 
appears to me to be the most efficacious remedy. I have given 
fowls even twenty drops of the elixir in a glass of the infusion. 

When it is merely hoarseness, Dr. Handel, of Mayence, gave 
to his birds for several days, as their only drink, a very diluted 
decoction of dry figs, sweetened with a little sugar, and after- 
wards purged them for two days following, with the juice of 


This is a very common disease among house birds. Those 
attacked with it have their breath short, often open their beaks 
as if to gasp for more ah 1 , and, when agitated or frightened, 
keep them open for a long time. 

The cause of this disease may doubtless be found in the mode 
of life which these birds lead. Their food is generally too dry 
and heating, being principally hemp-seed, which is very in- 
jurious, but liked by all ; and is the more hurtful, as it inclines 
them to eat too much. If to this be added the unchanged air 
of the rooms, particularly those which have stoves instead of 
chimneys, and the great heat which is kept up during winter, 
it is plain that there is much to injure the delicate lungs of 
these birds. 

A moist and refreshing regimen and some aperients, more or 
less often, according to the violence of the disease, appears the 
most appropriate remedy. A favourite linnet and goldfinch, 
when attacked with very bad asthma, were relieved and pre- 
served for several years by the following method. 


The first thing was to leave off hempseed entirely, confining 
them solely to rape-seed ; but giving them at the same time 
abundance of bread, soaked in pure water, and then pressed ; 
lettuce, endive, or water-cresses, according to the seasons, twice 
a week, giving them boiled bread and milk, about the size of 
a nutmeg. This is made by throwing a piece of the crumb of 
white bread, about the size of a nut, into a teacupful of milk, 
boiling it, and stirring it all the time with a wooden spoon till 
it is of the consistency of pap. It must be quite cold before it 
is given to the birds, and must always be made fresh, for if sour 
it will prove injurious. 

This paste, which they are very fond of, purges them suffi- 
ciently, and sensibly relieves them. In very violent attacks, 
nothing but this paste ought to be given for two or three days 
following, and this will soon give the desired relief. 

When the disease is slight, or only begun, it is sufficient to 
give the bread and milk once in three or four days. When 
employed under similar circumstances, this treatment has cured 
several very valuable birds. It may not be useless here to 
renew the advice of always giving the birds an opportunity of 
bathing every day, by putting in their way a saucer, or any 
other small shallow bath, filled with water, which should never 
be too cold, and in whiter always milk-warm. 

One thing which is very injurious to the lungs of birds, and 
which too often occurs, is the fright occasioned by tormenting 
them, or by seizing them too suddenly ; for the poor little 
things often rupture a blood-vessel in the breast while beating 
themselves about : a drop of blood in the beak is the sign, and 
a speedy death is the general consequence. If this do not 
happen, the breathing is not the less difficult and painful ; 
and recovery is rare, at least without the greatest care and 

Birds which eat insects and worms, occasionally, by accident, 
swallow some extraneous substance, which, sticking in their 
throat, stops their respiration, and stifles them. The only 
remedy is to extract the foreign body, which requires much 
skill and dexterity. 

When asthma is brought on by eating seeds which are too 
old, spoiled, or rancid, Dr. Handel recommends some drops of 
oxymel to be swallowed for eight days following. But the best 


way is to change the seed, and be sure there is none but good 
seed in the trough. 


This is caused by giving unnatural food to the bird, which 
destroys the digestive power of its stomach. In this case it 
disgorges, ruffles its feathers, and does not arrange them, and 
becomes thin very fast. The best thing is to make it swallow 
a common spider, which purges it, and put a rusty nail into its 
water, which strengthens the intestines, giving it at the same 
time its proper and natural food. Green food, such as lettuce, 
endive, chickweed, and particularly water-cresses, is the safest 
remedy. A very great appetite is a sign of this disease. A 
siskin, that was dying of atrophy, had nothing but water-cresses 
for three days following, and on the fourth he sung. 


This disorder may be known by the extreme thinness of the 
breast, the swelling of the lower part of the belly, the total loss 
of appetite, and similar symptoms. As a cure, Dr. Handel 
recommends the juice of the white turnip to be given to drink 
instead of water. 


This disease may be discovered from the frequent unsuccess- 
ful endeavours of the bird to relieve itself. Aperients will be 
of use. If a spider does not produce the desired effect, anoint 
the vent of the bird with the head of a pin steeped in linseed 
oil ; this sort of clyster generally succeeds ; but if the disease 
attacks a bird which eats meal-worms, one of these, bruised in 
sweet oil and saffron, is the most certain remedy, and the bird 
will swallow it without the least hesitation. Boiled bread and 
milk is generally o.f great use. 


This is a disease to which birds that have been caught 
recently are very subject, before they are accustomed to their 
new food. Most of these die of it : they continually void a 
white calcareous matter, which sticks to the feathers round the 
vent, and being very acrid causes inflammation in that part 
and in the intestines. Sometimes chalybeate water and the 
oil clyster produce good effects ; but it is better, if possible, to 


procure for the bird its most natural food. Some people pull 
out the feathers from the tail and vent, and then rub these 
parts with fre&h butter, but this is a very painful and cruel 
operation. They also mix the yolk of an egg boiled very hard 
with their food, but I have never found this succeed very well. 
If there be any hope of curing this disease it is by attacking it 
at the beginning, before inflammation is violent ; boiled bread 
and milk, a great deal of lettuce, or any other similar green 
refreshing food, in general completely cures them. 

In a case of chronic diarrhoaa, which almost reduces the birds 
to skeletons, Dr. Handel prescribes chalybeate water mixed 
with a little milk for their drink, which, he says, is an easy 
and certain cure. 


This is a disease with which some parrots are attacked. The 
best remedy is to make the birds drink a great deal of boiled 
milk, or even very fat broth ; for their intestines, which are 
very much irritated, require something soothing to protect 
them from the acrid discharges, which, at the same time, must 
be corrected by healing food. Birds in this state generally do 
nothing but drink, therefore plenty of boiled milk should be 
given them, as it nourishes them, as well as acts medicinally, 
but should it appear to turn sour in the stomach it must, at 
least for some time, be discontinued. 


This gland, which is on the rump, and contains the oil 
necessary for anointing the feathers, sometimes becomes hard 
and inflamed, and an abscess forms there. In this case the 
bird often pierces it itself, or it may be softened by applying 
fresh butter without any salt ; but it is better to use an oint- 
ment made of white lead, litharge, wax, and olive oil, which 
may be had at any good chemist's. The general method is to 
pierce or cut the hardened gland, in order to let out the 
matter, but if this operation removes the obstruction it also 
destroys the gland, and the bird will die in the next moulting, 
for want of oil to soften the feathers*. 

* This, though the common opinion, Seems incorrect. See Rennie's " HABITS 

c 2 


The gland is known to be obstructed when the feathers 
which surround it are ruffled, the bird never ceasing to peck 
them, and instead of being yellow it becomes brown. This 
disease is very rare among wild birds, for, being exposed to 
damp, and bathing often, they make more use of the liquor in 
the gland, consequently it does not accumulate sufficiently to 
become corrupted, sour, or cancerous. This confirms the 
necessity of giving them the means of bathing as often as in- 
stinct would induce them, as nothing can be more favourable 
to their health. 

Dr. Handel, after piercing the gland, recommends a little 
magnesia to be mixed with the bird's drink. 


This is a disease with which house birds are very often at- 
tacked. What I have found to be most useful in this case 
is to plunge the sick birds every now and then into very cold 
water, letting them fall suddenly into it, and cutting their 
claws, or at least one or two, short enough for the blood to run. 

From bleeding giving so much relief one would think that 
this disease is a kind of apoplexy, occasioned by want of exer- 
cise and too much food. Bullfinches and thrushes are more 
subject to it than any other birds, and bleeding always cures 
them. I have seen this done with great success in the follow- 
ing manner, but much delicacy and skill are required, as there 
would be great danger of laming the bird : a very small hole 
is made on the surface of the claw, with a lancet or very sharp 
penknife; it is then plunged in lukewarm water, and if the 
operation be well done the blood runs like a thread of red silk ; 
when removed from the water the bleeding stops : no bandage 
or dressing is required. 


In this disorder the skin on one part of the body, or even the 
whole body, rises and swells to so great a degree that it is 
stretched like a drum. It is generally sufficient to pierce it 
with a pin, so as to let the air escape, and the bird will be 
cured. I had some larks attacked with this disease, which 
began again to sing a quarter of an hour after the operation. 



House birds are often subject to bad feet. From the second 
year they become pale, and lose their freshness. They must 
be frequently cleaned, taking care to remove the skin; the 
thick loose scales ought also to be taken off, but with all possi- 
ble precaution. 

The gout occasions the feet to swell, they are also so scaly 
and painful that the poor little bird cannot support itself with- 
out resting on the points of its wings. Dr. Handel prescribes a 
warm fomentation with a decoction of soapwort. If a foot 
should be bruised or broken, he advises that the diseased bird 
should be shut up in a very small cage, the bottom of which is 
very smooth and even, without any perches, or anything which 
would tempt them to hop, and put in a very quiet and solitary 
place, out of the way of anything which might produce agita- 
tion. In this manner the bird will cure itself in a little time, 
without any bandage or plaster of any kind. 

I am persuaded that the principal cause of bad feet is want 
of bathing. The scales, contracting from dryness, occasion 
great pain ; in order to remove them with ease, and without 
danger, the feet must be softened in lukewarm water. I 
have seen the following method used with a bullfinch : its 
cage was made with a moveable tin bottom, which being half 
or three quarters of an inch deep, could hold water, which was 
put in tepid, to bathe the bird; the perches were then 
removed, so that the bird was obliged to remain in the water, 
where it was left for half an hour, sometimes throwing it 
hemp-seed to amuse it. After repeating the bath once or 
twice the bird became very fond of it ; and it was remarked 
that its feet became, if we may say so, quite young again. 
The scales being sufficiently softened, the middle of each was 
cut lengthways without reaching the flesh, this made the sides 
easily fall off. It is better to remove only two scales a-day, 
that the bird may not be wearied. By continuing the bath 
three times a week the feet become healthy and supple, and 
the bird is easy. 


The juice of red-beet for drink, and also as a liniment, 
greatly relieves this disorder. Dr. Handel recommends wash- 


ing the eyes, when disposed to blindness, with an infusion of 
the root of white hellebore. 


As to the tumours and ulcers which come on the heads of 
the birds, Dr. Handel touches them with a middling-sized 
red hot knitting-needle. This makes the watery humour 
run out, the wound afterwards dries and heals. To soften the 
pain a little liquid black soap is used. If, from the softness 
of the tumour, matter seems to have formed, it should be 
rubbed with fresh butter until it is come to a head ; it may 
then be emptied, and opened by a few drops of essence of 
myrrh. During all this time the bird must have nothing but 
beet juice to drink. 

Ulcers in the palate and throat may be cured by making 
the bird drink the milk of almonds for several days, at the 
same time lightly touching the ulcers several times a-day with 
a feather dipped in a mixture of honey and borax. 


Though natural, is generally accompanied with disease, during 
which the birds ought to be taken great care of. Their food 
should be changed, but without giving any heating delicacies, 
which are very injurious. 

It has been observed that birds always moult at the time 
when their food is most abundant ; the forest birds may then 
be seen approaching fields and cultivated places, where, having 
plenty of insects and seeds, they cannot suffer from want; 
indeed, the loss of their feathers prevents their taking long 
flights, and the reproduction of them occasions a loss of flesh 
which must be repaired. An abundance of food is therefore 
necessary, and, following this rule, during moulting some 
additional food must be given to house birds, appropriate to 
the different species millet or canary seed, a little hemp-seed, 
white bread soaked in water, and lettuce, or endive, to those 
which feed on seeds; with a few more meal worms and 
ants' eggs to those that eat insects : all should have bread 
soaked in boiled milk, warmth, and baths. Nothing has suc- 
ceeded better than this regimen : all the birds which I have 
seen treated in this manner have passed their moulting season 
in good health. 



This, without being properly a disease, is rather common, 
and is occasioned by the trick which the birds of the first 
class have, of turning their head and neck so far round that 
they fall head over heels. They may be easily cured of this 
trick by throwing a covering over the top of the cage, which 
prevents their seeing anything above them, for it is with 
looking up that this giddiness comes on. 


A disease which may be called the pairing fever must not 
be forgotten here. House birds are usually attacked with it 
in May, a time when the inclination to pair is greatest. They 
cease to sing, become sorrowful and thin, ruffle their feathers, 
and die. This fever generally first seizes those which are 
confined in cages : it appears to arise from their way of life, 
which is too uniform and wearying, I cured several by merely 
placing them in the window, where they are soon so much 
refreshed that they forget their grief, their desire for liberty or 
for pairing, and resume their liveliness and song. 

I have observed that a single female in the room is sufficient 
to cause this disease to all the males of the same family, 
though of different species. Removing the female will cure 
them directly. The males and females at this season must be 
separated, so that they cannot see or hear one another. This 
perhaps is the reason that a male, when put in the window, is 
soon cured. 


The length of a bird's life very much depends on the care 
which is taken of it. There are some parrots which have 
lived more than a century ; and nightingales, chaffinches, and 
goldfinches have been known to live more than twenty-four 
years in a cage. The age of house birds is so much the more 
interesting, as it is only by observing it that we can know 
with any degree of certainty the length of birds' lives in 
general. Thus house birds are of importance to the naturalist, 
as giving him information which he could not otherwise 
acquire. It is worthy of remark, that the quick growth of 


birds does not prevent their living much longer than quadru- 
peds. The length of life with these is estimated to be six or 
seven times longer than the time which they take to grow : 
while birds live fifteen, twenty, and even thirty times longer. 

This length of life is sometimes attributed to the substance 
of which the bones are composed being much more loose and 
light, and consequently remaining porous longer than those of 
quadrupeds. Some swans have lived three hundred years. 


We are furnished with house birds by the bird catchers 
and bird sellers ; the latter procure foreign birds, and teach 
them, the former the indigenous ones. A good bird catcher 
ought to know not only the different modes of taking birds, 
but also all the calls for attracting the different species and 
sexes: the call notes vary very much among house birds, 
according to their passions and wants; thus the common 
chaffinch, when calling its companions, often repeats lack, 
iack ; when expressing joy, fink, fink, which it also does when 
angry, though louder and more quickly; whilst its cry of 
sorrow is treef, treef. 

The science of bird catching consists in studying these 
different languages well, and it will ensure success. 

As each species of bird requires a different mode, I shall 
mention the various methods in the course of the work, and 
shall here only speak of bird catching in general. The first 
thing to know is the proper time to take birds. For birds of 
passage, impelled by cold and want of food to change their 
climate, nets should be spread in spring and autumn ; erratic 
birds, which change their place merely in search of food, may 
be taken some in winter, some in spring, and others in 
autumn ; 'those birds which never quit their native place may 
be taken at any season, but more easily in winter, when they 
assemble in small flocks. 

Autumn is the time for taking birds in nets ; some, attracted 
by a call-bird, or by food, come of their own accord into the 
trap ; others, as the different species of larks, must be driven 
to the net : but spring is the best season for employing the 
decoy, or call-birds, concealed in cages, and also for catching 


the northern birds on their return from the southern countries 
to their own. It is the best time for observing the different 
sexes of these birds, for the males always arrive some days, or 
even a whole week, sooner than the females; hence it happens 
that at first the bird catchers take only the former, while the 
latter are caught afterwards. March and April are the best 
months for this sport, which should always be made in the 
morning from the break of day till nine o'clock, as afterwards 
the birds are too much engaged seeking their food to listen to 
the call of the decoy birds. 

As most of the house birds of the first class, are caught in 
the net, I shall describe the simple manner in which it is done 
in Thurmgia. Some rather strong branches of oak and beech 
are chosen with their leaves on ; about the space of a foot is 
cleared of leaves, a foot and a half from the top of the branches, 
and in this space notches are made for fixing lime twigs : the 
bush, when thus prepared, must be placed on an eminence hi 
the most frequented part of the birds' path, for birds of 
passage have fixed roads which they always follow, and in 
which numbers may be seen, whilst about four hundred paces 
distant not one can be met with. These tracks generally 
follow the mountains which border on valleys. It is on these 
mountains then that the decoy bush must be placed ; it must 
then be garnished with lime twigs, placed in an inclined 
position, and beneath on the ground must be put the decoy 
birds, covering their cages with branches of fir or any other 
tree, so that the birds cannot see one another, as that would 
prevent the birds of passage from stopping, and the others 
from calling. 

Decoy birds taken wild are preferred to those reared from 
the nest, for these never know the call note well, or at least 
do not repeat it often enough, 

One of the best modes of catching is by what is called the 
water-trap ; all kinds of birds may be caught by it, and there 
is always a choice. This sport is very agreeable in the hot 
summer days, for you have only to sit quietly under the thick 
shade of the foliage by the side of a running stream. A net 
of three, four, or six feet long, and three or four wide, accord- 
ing to the size of the place, must be spread over a trench made 
on purpose to receive the water. Some sticks of about an 
inch thick must be put into the trench level with the water, 


to which hoops are fixed to prevent the net from getting wet 
by falling into the water ; the rest of this little canal must be 
covered with branches. If the place be well chosen it will 
be surrounded during the day with numbers of different birds. 
This sport may be carried on from the 24th of July till October, 
from the -rising to the setting of the sun. 

When the water-trap can be set near a forest, in a grove of 
pines and firs, near quickset, hedges and gardens^ or in the 
middle of a meadow, wood or field-birds may be caught at 
the same time. For the sake of convenience, small cages are 
made which can be folded up and put into the pocket. They 
only serve, however, for the tamest kinds of birds, such as 
goldfinches, siskins, and linnets; those which are very wild 
and violent, as chaffinches and larks, should be put into a 
small bag made of linen, the bottom of which imist be lined 
with felt. When brought to the house tlie violent species 
must be immediately put into a dark plage, and their cages 
covered with branches or anything else, that they may not 
injure themselves, or spoil their plumage. A little attention 
to the birds' actions in such cases will point out what is best 
to be done, for amongst birds of the same species there is 
nothing regular in this respect. 


BIRDS of prey are so called from feeding only on animals : 
they have a hooked beak, strong feet, and very sharp claws. 

Some birds of this group are used in falconry, so called 
because several species of falcon are employed in the sport : 
others, as the owls, are used to attract small birds to the barn- 
floor trap, and rooks to the decoy-hut. There seems little 
probability that bird-fanciers should wish to keep such birds 
as these in the house. Two species, however, appear to merit 
distinction, the kestril and the little owl. 


Falco Tinnunculus, LINN^US ; La Cresserelle, BUFFON ; Der Thurmfalke, 

ITS size is that of a turtle-dove, its length fourteen inches, 
including the tail, which measures six, and two-thirds of which 
is covered by the folded wings. The wax, the irides, and feet 
are yellow. In general this is a handsome bird; but the 
male, as hi all birds, of prey, differs from the female, not less 
in the body being a third smaller than in the colours ot his 
plumage. The top of the head is of a fine light grey, the 



back and the lesser wing coverts are of a red brick colour 
spotted with black; the belly is reddish, and streaked with 
black ; the feathers of the tail dark brown spotted with white, 
ending in a broad black border. 

The back and wings of the female are of a rust red crossed 
with many black lines ; the head is of a light reddish brown 
streaked with black ; the tail of the same colour, and termi- 
nated, like that of the male, with a broad black border ; the 
extremity, however, of each is pale *. 

HABITATION. In its wild state the kestril falcon may be found 
throughout Europe, preferring mountainous places, where there are walls 
of rocks or ruined castles. It is a bird of passage, which departs in 
October with the larks, and may then be seen hovering over them, or 
pouncing at mice ; it returns in the following March. 

In the house, if taken when old, it must be kept in a wire cage ; but 
if caught and trained when young it may be left quite at liberty, provided 
its wings are kept clipped ; in that case it will neither quit the house nor 
lodging assigned it, especially when become familiar with the dogs and cats. 

FOOD. In its wild state it preys on small birds and mice, pursues 

* There are varieties in this species : that with the head grey is rare, but when 
quite white is still more so. TRANSLATOR. 


sparrows to the house-top, and even attacks birds in their cages; it is 
nevertheless contented with cockchafers, beetles, and grasshoppers. 

In confinement it is fed on birds, mice, and a little raw meat ; when 
given only the fresh offal of pigeons, or the lights and livers of sheep, 
it becomes so tame, that even if taken when old it never appears to regret 
the loss of its freedom. 

BREEDING. The kestril falcon builds its nest in the fissures of rooks, 
high towers, old castles, or some aged tree. It lays from four to six eggs 
of a reddish yellow colour, spotted with red and brown. The young ones, 
which are at first covered with a simple white down, may be easily reared 
on fresh mutton. 

MODE OF TAKING. Lime twigs placed over the nest will easily secure 
the old ones when they come to feed their young ; or a bird of prey's 
basket, with a lark or mouse put in it as a lure, may be placed where 
these birds are most frequently seen. This machine is raised on four 
stakes, and somewhat resembles a common safe, having a lower shelf as 
large as a moderate sized table, with four upright posts, to which are 
fastened the partitions of net or wire ; on the top and sides are fixed two 
iron rods ; on these, by means of rings, there runs a net which covers 
the whole. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES Its fine plumage, its sonorous notes kle, kle, 
which it sometimes repeats in continued succession, and its amusing 
actions, must make it a favourite with most amateurs ; it cannot, indeed, 
like other species of falcon, be trained to the chase ; but if taken when 
very young, and fed with the food before mentioned, it may be taught to 
fly to some distance and then return, even in the midst of the largest 


Strix passerina, LINNJEUS ; La Cheveche, ou Petite Chouette, BUFFON ; Die 
Zwergeule, BECHSTEIN. 

THE feathers of this hird make it appear larger than it really 
is. Its length is from eight to nine inches, of which the tail 
measures at least three; the folded wings almost reach the 
extremity ; the beak is ten lines in length, brown at the base, 
and yellow at the point ; the iris is yellow in summer, and 
meadow green in winter ; the claws blackish ; the upper part 
of the body is light brown, with round white spots, which are 
largest on the back and shoulders; the lower part is white, 
spotted with dark brown and a little orange ; the quill feathers 
dark brown, with white spots ; the tail lighter, with red spots, 


which may almost be taken for transverse bands. The colours 
are less brilliant in the female. 

HABITATION. In its wild state this small species of owl frequents old 
buildings, towers, and church walls, where its nest is also found *. 

In the house it must always he kept in a cage, which may he hung in 
the window, for if permitted to mix with the other birds it would kill 

FOOD When \vild its general food is mice and large insects ; I have 

also found in the indigested remains which this, like other birds of prey, 
discharges from its stomach, a considerable quantity of the fruit of the red 
cornel tree (Cornus sanguined, Linnaeus). This proves that it also feeds 
on berries. 

In the cage it may be kept for some time in good health, without having 
its excrements tainted, if fed on dried mutton : the skin, fat, and bones 
must be removed, and the meat left to soak in water for two days before 
it is eaten. Three quarters of an ounce a day of this meat dried will be 
sufficient, particularly if now and then some mice or birds be given it, v 
which it swallows, feathers and all ; it can devour as many as five mice 
at a meal. It begins to wake up at about two in the afternoon, and then 
becomes very lively, and soon wants its food. 

BREEDING The female lays two white eggs, which the male takes his 

turn to sit upon ; the young ones may be very easily reared on fresh meat, 
particularly on pigeons. Before the first moulting the head is of a soft 
reddish grey clouded with white. The large round spots on the back 
become gradually more marked, and the reddish white of the under part 
by degrees acquires long streaks of brown on the breast and sides. 

DISEASES. If great care be not taken sometimes to give it mice or birds, 
the fur and feathers of which cleanse the stomach, it will soon die of 

MODE OF TAKING. When the place of its retreat during the day is 
discovered, it cannot fail to be taken if a net in the form of a bag or sack 
be placed over the mouth of the hole, for the bird will by this means 
entrap itself when endeavouring to come out for the evening. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES This bird, which is very cleanly, always 
deposits its dung in one particular spot. Its singular motions are amusing, 
but its harsh cry, and restlessness, particularly during the season of copu- 
lation, are rather disagreeable. It is much used on the continent as a 
decoy, to entrap small birds. 

* It is rare in Britain TRANSLATOR. 



THE birds of this group have the beak a little flat, more or 
less hooked, generally in the form of a knife, and of a middling 
size. The feet are in general strong and short; the lower 
part, being much divided, may be used for walking or climbing. 
Their food consists of insects, worms, the flesh and remains of 
animals, seeds and fruit. In a few species the note is pleasing; 
several may be taught to speak ; and some are admired for 
their handsome plumage. 


Lanius Excubitor, LINNAEUS ; Der gememe Wlirger, BECHSTEIN ; La Pie- 
Gri&che grise, BUFFON. 

IT is a little larger than the Redwing (Turdus Iliacus, 
Linn.) Its length is nine inches, of which the tail measures 
three and three-quarters ; the wings, when folded, cover one- 
third of the tail. The beak is eight lines in length ; the iris 
is very dark brown ; the shanks iron grey. All the upper 
part of the body is of a fine ash colour, shading off to white 
above the eyes, on the forehead, the shoulders, and the rump. 
The tail is wedge-shaped, white at the point, and black in 
the middle. 

HABITATION When wild, this species generally frequents groves, 
thickets, and the borders of forests ; it is also found among brambles, 
and on lonely trees, always perched on the top. It never quits the abode 
it has once chosen, either in winter or summer. When caught it must 
be kept in a large wire cage. Its liveliness and desire for prey prevent its 
being permitted to mix with the other birds. 

FOOD In its wild state, it feeds in summer on grasshoppers, crickets, 
beetles, and other insects, even lizards, and small adders, and when those 


fail, on mice and small birds : these, with mice, moles, and the like, form 
its winter food. When pursuing its prey, the shrike makes a particular 
movement, in order to seize it on the side ; but it does not always succeed, 
as it cannot use its claws like birds of prey, and often only carries off a 
beakful of feathers. 

In the cage, if the bird be taken when old, some mice, birds, or living 
insects, may be thrown to it, taking care to leave it quite alone, for as 
long as any one is present it will touch nothing ; but as soon as it has 
once begun to feed freely it will eat fresh meat, and even become accus- 
tomed to the universal paste, described in the Introduction. This shrike 
eats very much for its site, at the least one ounce of meat at a meal. It 
likes to have a forked branch, or crossed sticks in its cage, across the 
angles of which it throws the mouse, or any other prey which has been 
given it, and then darting on it behind from the opposite side of the cage, 
devours every morsel, let it be ever so large. It bathes freely. 

MODE OF TAKING. Although it flies very swiftly when pursuing its 
prey, it may easily be taken if a nest of young birds, crying from hunger, 
be suspended to some lime twigs. In autumn and winter, it will some- 
times dart on birds in cages which are outside the window. It may then 
be easily caught, if the cage be put into a sort of box, having the lid so 
placed that the bird by the least touch would cause it to fall upon itself. 
These means must be employed by those who wish to possess birds which 
they can let go and come at will. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its cry somewhat resembles the guir, gu\r 
of the lark ; like the nutcracker, it can imitate the different notes, but not 
the songs, of other birds. Nothing is more agreeable than its own 
warbling, which much resembles the whistling of the grey parrot ; its 
throat at the time being expanded like that of the green frog. It is a 
great pity that it only sings during the pairing season, which is from 
March to May, and even then often spoils the beautiful melody of its 
song, with some harsh, discordant notes. The female also sings. As 
some of its tones resemble the human voice, it might probably be taught 
to speak. 


Lauius minor, LINN.ECS ; Der graue Wiirger, BECHSTEIN. 

IT is about the size of the sky-lark, being eight inches in 
length, of which the tail measures three and a half, the folded 
wings cover one- third. The beak is black, and seven inches 
in length; the iris brown; the legs of a lead -colour; the 
forehead black; a broad streak of the same colour passing 
from the beak across the eyes and over the cheeks ; the tail is 
wedge-shaped; the exterior feathers are white, with a black 


The female only differs from the male in being a little 
smaller, the streak on the cheeks is shorter and narrower, and 
thjre is generally only one white feather in the tail. 

HABITATION. "Wild, it is a bird of passage, departing the first of 
September, and returning the beginning of the following May *. It 
generally frequents woods, orchards, and the hedges of fields. Always 
perched on the tops of trees, it rarely descends into the lower bushes. It 
feeds on insects. 

In the house, it must have a large wire cage like the larks, but with 
three perches. It is not safe to let it mix with the other birds, as it would 
soon kill them. 

FOOD. In its wild state it feeds on beetles, cockchafers, crickets, 
breeze-flies, and other insects ; when these fail, in consequence of a long 
continuance of rain, it sometimes seizes young birds. 

In the house, if an old bird and lately taken, as soon as it is put in the 
cage, some living insects, or a small bird just killed, must be thrown into 
it. After some time, it will be satisfied with raw or dressed meat; but it 
is not always an easy task to get it to eat this food, for it will sometimes 
take eight successive days, during which meal worms and other insects are 
added ; but as soon as it is accustomed to meat, it becomes so tame that 
it will feed from the hand, and if the cage door be opened it will even 
perch on the wrist to eat. Notwithstanding all my care, I have only been 
able to preserve those two years, which have been taken wild, they have 
all died of decline t ; those, on the contrary, which have been reared from 
the nest, do not require so much attention, being contented with any kind 
of common food. 

BREEDING. This bird generally builds in a tree on the edge of a wood, 
or in a garden, the nest being rather large and irregular. The young are 
fed on beetles and grasshoppers. In order to rear them, they must be 
taken from the nest when the tail begins to grow, and fed at first on ants' 
eggs, and afterwards on white bread soaked in milk. 

MODK OF TAKING. When the particular brambles and branches have 
been observed, on, which this bird watches for its prey, it is not difficult 
to catch it; for notwithstanding its great quickness, it is not the less 
imprudent, for it allows itself to be caught in the bird-lime in the most 
stupid manner. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. This species has no particular song: the 
female has none at all ; but the male imitates, with wonderful facility, 
the songs of other birds, not only the detached parts, but the whole notes, 
so correctly that it would not be difficult to mistake it. Thus it imitates 
exactly, and in order, all the variations of the song of the nightingale, 
though more feebly, and like an echo, its notes not being so full and 
clear : it imitates equally well the song of the lark, and similar birds. 

* It is not a native of Britain. TRANSLATOR. 

t Perhaps from not having been given now and then feathers, the fur and skin of 
animals, or even beetles, to cleanse the stomach. TRANSLATOR. 



This wonderful power of imitation cannot fail to please amateurs, and 
make them wish to possess this interesting bird. I have observed that it 
likes best to repeat the call of the quail. One of this species which I had 
among my collection, always stopped its song, however lively, when it 
heard that of the quail, for the purpose of imitating it ; the latter, before 
it was accustomed to this, became very jealous, and as soon as it heard it, 
ran about in every direction, furiously endeavouring to fight its fancied 


Lanius erythrocephalus. Lan. Collurio, rufus, et pomeranus, LINN.SOS ; La Pie 
Grieche rousse, BUFFON ; Der rothkopfige Wurger, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is smaller and more delicate than the former species, 
being only seven inches long, of which the tail measures three 
and a half; the folding wings cover one third; the beak is 
eight lines in length, and black ; the iris greyish yellow ; the 
shanks bluish black ; the forehead black, from the base of 
which a band of the same colour extends over the eyes. The. 
tail feathers are also black, but the outer ones only so to the 
middle, the rest being white. 

The female only differs from the male in its colour being 
less brilliant. 

HABITATION. When wild it is a bird of passage, arriving at the end of 
April, and departing about the middle of September*. It inhabits moun- 
tains, forests, and wooded plains, but prefers enclosed pastures where horses 
are kept day and night. 

In confinement it requires the same treatment as the preceding. 

FOOD In its wild state it prefers beetles, the d*mg of cow.s and horses, 

maybugs, grasshoppers, breeze -flies, and other insects ;-it often also darts 
upon lizards and young quails. 

In a state of confinement it is fed like the preceding ; but being more 
delicate it is better to rear it from the nest, feeding it on raw meat. If 
an old bird be taken, it is impossible to preserve it unless it be constantly 
fed on live insects. 

BREEDING. The woodchat commonly builds its nest on the thick and 
bushy branches of large trees, and makes it of small sticks, moss, hogs' 
bristles, wool and fur. The female breeds twice, laying each time six 
reddish-white eggs, marked particularly at the large end with distinct red 
spots, mixed with pale ones of a bluish grey. The young ones are hatched 
in fifteen days ; their colour, before the first moulting, is on the upper 
pnrt, dirty white, spotted with grey; the under part is also dirty white, 

* It is doubtful as a native of Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


clouded with pale grey ; the wing coverts are bordered with rust colour ; 
the quill feathers and tail are black. 

MODE OF TAKING A cruel method, but the surest, is to place bird- 
lime on its nest, this being the most wary species of shrike ; but as it 
bathes freely it may be taken about the middle of the day at its washing 
place, if near hedges. It is often found drowned in large ponds. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Although this species appears endowed with 
as good a memory as the preceding, its notes are less agreeable, not being 
so soft, and it introduces some stanzas of its own shrill and harsh warbling 
into the songs that it imitates, which are those of the nightingale, linnet, 
redstart, and goldfinch. But this bird is most admired for its beautiful 


Lanius spnitorquus, BECHSTEIN ; Lanius Collurio, LINN^OS; L'Ecorcheur, 
BUFFON ; Der rothrUckige Wiirger, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS pretty species seems to form a connecting link between 
the pies and the singing birds, so much does it resemble the 
latter in its different qualities. Its length is a little more 
than six inches, of which the tail measures three and a quarter. 
The wings, when folded, cover one third. The beak is black, 
and the iris of the eyes light brown ; the legs, bluish black. 

In the male, the head, the nape of the neck, the tail coverts, 
and the thighs, are grey. This colour is lighter on the fore- 
head and above the eyes. A black band extends from the 
nostrils to the ears. The beak and wing coverts are of a fine 
red brown ; the rump and under part of the body white, 
slightly tinged with pink on the breast, sides, and belly ; the 
centre tail feathers are entirely black, the others white at the 

The colours in the female differ considerably from those of 
the male. All the upper part of the body is dirty reddish 


brown, slightly shading into grey on the upper part of the neck 
and rump ; there is a scarcely visible shade of white on the 
back and shoulders ; the forehead and above the eyes is yellow- 
ish, the cheeks brown, the throat and belly dirty white ; the 
under parts of the neck, breast, and sides, are yellowish white, 
crossed with waving brown lines ; the quill feathers are dark 
brown, the outer ones edged with white, the others to the four 
centre ones have only a white spot ; the tail dark brown, with 
some shades of orange. 

HABITATION. When wild it is one of the latest birds of passage, as it 
does not arrive till May. It is sometimes found in woody valleys where 
cattle graze, more commonly in hedges, and fields with bushes in them, or 
in inclosed pastures where horses and cows are kept. It is one of the first 
migratory birds to depart, which it does in August, in families, even before 
the young ones have moulted. 

In the house, it must be treated like the former, and kept in a wire 
cage, for it would soon kill its companions, as I experienced some years 
ago. The bird I refer to had been three days without eating, although I had 
given him a great variety of dead birds and insects. On the fourth day I 
set him at liberty in the room, supposing him too weak to hurt the other 
birds, and thinking that he would become better accustomed to his new 
food if I left him at liberty. Hardly was he set free than he seized and 
killed a duunock before I had time to save it ; I let him eat it, and then 
put him back into the cage. From this time, as if his fury were satisfied, 
he ate all that was given him. 

FOOD In its wild state, it eats large quantities of beetles, maybugs, 

crickets, and grasshoppers, but it prefers breeze-flies, and other insects 
which teaze the cattle. It impales as many of these insects as it can catch 
for its meal on the thorns of bushes. If, during a long continuance of 
rain, these insects disappear, it then feeds on field-mice, lizards, and young 
birds, which it also fixes on the thorns. 

When confined, its food is the same as the preceding species. Some in- 
sects, mixed with the nightingales' paste, make it more palatable for it. A 
little raw or dressed meat may also be given it from time to time. 

BREEDING. When the season is favourable this species breeds twice, 
and generally chooses a large hawthorn bush in which to build its nest, roots 
and coarse stubble forming the base of it, then a layer of moss interwoven 
with wool, and the finest fibres of roots lining the interior. The female 
lays from five to six greenish white eggs, spotted all over, especially at the 
large end, and speckled with red and grey ; the male takes his turn with 
the female to sit during fourteen days. Before moulting, the young ones 
resemble the female in colour. The back and breast are greenish grey, 
streaked with several waving brown lines ; the belly is dirty white. They 
can be easily reared by feeding them at first with ants' eggs, then with 
dressed meat, and afterwards with white bread soaked in milk : this last 
food it always likes if early accustomed to it. 


MODE or TAKING. As soon as this bird arrives in May, the bushes on 
which it most frequently perches must be observed ; these are very few, 
and on them the lime twigs must be placed ; it is often entrapped within a 
quarter of an hour. Success is more certain if a beetle, maybug, or 
breeze-fly, be fastened near the lime twigs with horse hair, by two feet, so 
that it can move its wings. As soon as the bird is stuck in the bird-lime 
it is necessary when taking it to avoid its beak, as it pecks very hard. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. This bird does not rank low among the singers ; 
its song is not only very pleasing but continual. "While singing, it is 
generally perched on a lonely bush, or on the lower branches of a tree, but 
always near its nest. Its warbling is composed of the songs of the swallow, 
goldfinch, fauvette, nightingale, redbreast, and lark, with which, indeed, it 
mixes here and there some of its own harsh notes. It almost exclusively 
imitates the birds in its immediate neighbourhood ; it very rarely repeats 
the song or call of those which merely fly past it ; when it does, it seems 
only in mockery. There are, however, some songs which it cannot 
imitate : for instance, that of the chaffinch and yellow-hammer, its threat 
not seeming to be sufficiently flexible for these. In the house, its song is 
composed of the warbling of those birds whose cages are hung near it. It 
is very lively, and its plumage is handsome. 

If a room is to be cleared of flies, one of these birds set at liberty in it 
will soon effect it ; it catches them flying with great skill and agility. 
When a thorny branch is given it, it impales all its flies, making at the 
same time the drollest and most singular movements. This species easily 
and quickly learns to whistle airs, but it forgets them with the same 
facility, in order to learn new ones. 


Corvus Corax, LINNAEUS ; Le Corbeau, BUFFON ; Der Kolkrabe, BECHSTEJN. 

THIS and the three following species ought not to be reckoned 
among house birds ; but as they are easily taught to speak, and 
are often reared for that purpose, I must not neglect to mention 
them here. 

The raven is well known. Its length is two feet, of which 
the tail measures eight inches and three quarters. The colour. 


which is black, in particular lights reflects a violet tint on the 
upper, and green on the lower part of the body, of the wings 
and tail. The throat is of a paler black. 

Of all the birds of this genus, distinguished by having the 
beak hi the form of a knife, and the base furnished with strong 
bristles which extend forward, the raven, on account of the size 
of its tongue, is the best fitted to articulate words ; hence, in 
Thuringia, people are often saluted, on entering an inn, with 
some abusive language from one of these ravens, confined near 
the door, in a large cage like a tower. When it has been reared 
from the nest (which must be done hi order to teach it to speak) 
it may be left at liberty ; it will come when called by name to 
receive its food. Everything which shines must be put out of 
its way, particularly gold and silver, as it does not fail to carry 
it off, like the other birds of its kind. One, which was brought 
before Augustus, had been taught to repeat, Ave C&sar, victor, 
imperator, in order to salute him on his return from victory. 

Some people are accustomed to cut what is called the nerve 
of the tongue, supposing that it would make them better able 
to articulate sounds ; but it seems most probable that this cruel' 
practice is of little use, and, like many others, only a vulgar 
prejudice, for I have heard ravens speak perfectly well without 
having the tongue touched. 

This bird was very much prized at a time when divination 
made a part of religion. Its most minute actions, all the 
motions of its flight, and the different sounds of its voice, were 
carefully studied ; in the latter, people pretending to discover 
even sixty-four different modulations, besides many shades still 
more delicate and difficult to determine. This must certainly 
have required an excessively fine ear, as its croaking is parti- 
cularly simple. Every alteration, let it be ever so slight, had 
its particular signification. Impostors were not wanting, who 
pretended to understand, or dupes who easily believed, these 
idle fancies. Some have carried their folly to such a pitch as 
to persuade themselves that by eating the heart and entrails of 
the raven they would acquire its gift of prophecy. 

HABITATION. This species only inhabits the wooded parts of a country ; 
it there builds its nest on the highest trees. Its eggs, from three to five hi 
number, are of a dirty green, streaked with olive brown. If the young 
ones be taken in order to instruct them, they must be removed on the 


twelfth day after bursting the shell, when they have only half their feathers. 
They are fed on meat, snails, worms, and bread soaked in milk ; after a 
little time they will eat bread, meat, and any refuse from the table. In its 
wild state the raven eats leverets, birds' eggs, mice, young goslings, 
chickens, and snails, and even pears, cherries, and other fruit ; this shows 
us that it is rather hurtful as well as useful. 


Corvus corone, LINNAEUS ; La Corneille, BUFFON ; Die Schwarze Krahe, 

It only differs from the preceding in its size, and in the tail 
being rounded instead of wedge-shaped. Its whole length is 
eighteen inches. Its plumage is black, with some tints of 
violet on the upper part of the body. 

PECULIAR QUALITIES. The carrion crow is one of the commonest birds; 
in the groves, which it likes best, it congregates in such numbers that 
twenty nests have been built on the same tree * ; the eggs are spotted 
with grey or olive brown on a green ground. The young may be taken 
from the nest in the month of March, or even earlier if the winter be mild 
they are treated and fed like the former species. The carrion crow is even 
more easily tamed, for I have seen old ones, which have been taught to go 
and come, and others in their wild state, which have regularly fed in the 
yard going in the spring to breed in the woods, and returning at the 
beginning of the winter to pass that season in a domestic state. Insects, 
worms, mice, fruit, and grain form its principal food in its wild state. 

MODE OF TAKING. The easiest and most usual method is with paper 
cones, at the bottom of which is put a bit of meat, and bird-lime on the 
inner edges. It may also be caught with lime twigs placed in the yard, or 
before the house, on horse dung and among scattered grain. 


Corvus Comix, LINN^ITS ; La Corneille Mantele"e, BUFFON ; Die Nebelkrahe. 

THIS species, a little larger than the preceding, is grey, With 
the head, throat, wings, and tail black. In the winter it is 
found over almost all Europe, but during summer it inhabits 

* The rook, ( Corvus frugilegus >, Linnaeus,) seems here to be confounded with the 
carrion crow. I say nothing about this species, as I have never heard of one being 
tamed or instructed. It is about the size of the carrion crow, and chiefly differs 
from it in the base of the beak being naked, and having a rough scabrous 


more northern parts, where it builds in groves and orchards 
near open fields : its eggs are bright green streaked and spotted 
with brown. 

If taken young it is tamed and taught to speak more easily 
than the carrion crow. 


Corvus Monedula, LINNAEUS ; Le Chocas, BOFFON ; Die Dohle, BECHSTBIN 

THIS bird is naturally half tame, and if reared from the nest 
it will voluntarily remain in the yard with the poultry. It 
makes its nest in old buildings, houses, castles, towers, and 
churches : its eggs are green, spotted with dark brown and 
black. It is not so much to teach it to speak that people like 
to rear young jack-daws, but to see it go and return at call. 
Even old ones that are taken in autumn may be accustomed 
to this, cutting the wings at first, and again in the spring, so 
that as they grow again the bird learns by degrees to come to 
a certain call. During winter it will always come into the 
yard. The size of the jack-daw is that of the pigeon, thirteen 
or fourteen inches in length. The back of the head is light grey, 
the rest of the body black. When in winter it eats wild garlic, 
in the fields it smells very strongly of it, and does not lose the 
scent till it has been a week in the house. 


Corvus glaudarius, LINNJEUS; Le Geai, BOFFON ; Der Holzeber, BECHSTEIN. 

I HAVE often, during my youth, seen this beautiful species 
of bird among the peasants of Thuringia confined in cages, and 
taught to speak. It is about the size of the preceding bird. Its 
black beak is in shape like that of the carrion crow. The feet 

THE JAY. 41 

are brown, with a slight shade of flesh colour. All the smaller' 
feathers are soft and silky. A purple grey is the most predomi- 
nant colour ; the throat is whitish, the eyes are reddish blue, the 
rump white ; the large coverts have the outer side of the 
feathers ornamented with small but very brilliant bands, alter- 
nately bluish white, light blue, and bluish black, which softly 
blend one into the other, like the colours in the rainbow, and 
are a great ornament to the bird. 

The only difference in the female is that the upper part of 
the neck is grey, whereas in the male it is much redder, and 
that colour also extends to the back. 

HABITATION. When wild, the jay frequents woods ; above all, those 
in which there are firs mixed with other trees. 

la the house it must be kept in a large cage in the form of a tower, or 
in any other shape ; it is too dirty a bird to be let range at liberty. 

FOOD. In its wild state it prefers worms, insects, and berries, when 
acorns and beech- mast fail : it makes great havoc among cherries. 

In the cage, it soon becomes accustomed to bread soaked in milk, but it 
will eat almost any thing, bread, soft cheese, baked meat, and all that 
comes from table; acorns and beech-mast however are its favourite food. 
It must be kept very clean, otherwise its soiled and dirty plumage would 
make it look to great disadvantage. It is better to feed it entirely on 
corn ; it becomes by this means less dirty, and its execrements are not so 
soft or foetid. It may be preserved for several years on this food. It must 
always'have fresh water given it, as much for drinking as for bathing. 

BREEDING. The jay builds in beech-trees, oaks, and firs. Its eggs are 
grey spotted with brown. The young which are to be taught to speak 
must be taken from the nest after the fourteenth or fifteenth day, and fed 
on soft cheese, bread, and meat : it is easily taught and domesticated. 
Those which are caught when old cannot be tamed ; they are always 
frightened when any one approaches them, hiding and fasting for several 
hours afterwards rather then re-appear. 

MODE OF TAKING. Should anyone wish to catch these birds, he must seek 
in autumn for a lonely tree, about five or six paces from the other trees of the 
wood, which the birds frequent most ; on it lime twigs must be placed. In 
order to effect this, most of the branches are cut off in such a manner as to 
form a kind of spiral staircase, commencing about ten or twelve feet from the 
ground, and extending to within six of the top. After having shortened and 
reduced the branches to five or six spans in length, the lime-twigs are fixed 
to them ; under the tree must be placed a hut, made of green branches, large 
enough to contain as many persons as wish to conceal themselves ; on the 
top of this hut is placed a live owl, or one made of clay j even the skin of 
a hare arranged so that it may be moved, will suffice. Nothing is now 
wanting to attract the jays but a bird-call, which is made of a little stick 
with a notch cut in it and a little piece of the bark of the cherry-tree in- 
serted, another bit serving for a cover. On this instrument the voice of 


the owl, the great enemy of the jays, may easily be imitated ; and as soon 
as they hear it they come from all sides, while their cries must be re- 
peated by the people in the hut, which makes them assemble in still greater 
numbers. They are soon entangled in the bird-lime, and fall pell mell 
into the hut, their weight easily dragging them through the slight covering. 
Many other birds also collect on hearing the deceitful call, and, wishing to 
assist their brethren, are themselves entrapped. Thus, in a few hours 
many jays and a great number of other birds may be caught, such as mag- 
pies, thrushes, wood-peckers, redbreasts, and tits. Twilight is the best 
time for this sport. 

In the month of July jays may also be taken in the water-trap, where 
young ones, with their tails only half grown, are most frequently caught ; 
these may yet be taught and tamed. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Although it is easy to teach the jay to speak, 
it will in general only repeat single words ; but it imitates passably well 
little airs on the trumpet and other short tunes. Its beautiful colours are 
a great attraction. It may also be taught to go and come, if in the 
country : but in the city it is not so easily taught this as crows and ravens. 


Corvus Caryocatactes, LINNAEUS; Le Casse-noix, BUFFON ; Der Tannenheher, 

ITS length is twelve inches, of which the tail measures four 
and three quarters ; the wings, when folded, reach the middle. 
The beak and feet are black; the iris is reddish brown. 
Though speckled like the starling, its general colour is blackish 
brown, lighter above, and darker underneath the body. The 
tail feathers are black, but white at the tip. 

The general colour of the female is a redder brown than that 
of the male. 

HABITATION. In its wild state it inhabits, during summer, the depth of 
woods, near which there are meadows and springs, and it does not quit this 
retreat till autumn, when it frequents those places where it can find acorns, 
beech-mast, and nuts. During hard winters it may sometimes be seen on 
the high road, seeking its food amongst the horse-dung. 

In the house it is kept like a jay. 

FOOD In its wild state, having a very strong beak, it can open the 
cones of the pine and fir, peel the acorns and beech-mast, and break the 
nut-shells. It also eats different sorts of berries, but prefers animal food 
and insects, in short, any thing it can get. 

In confinement it must be fed like the jay ; but it is more easily tamed, 
and accustomed to use different words. It is so fond of animal food, that 
if a live jay were thrown into its cage it would kill it and eat it in a 
quarter of an hour ; it will even eat whole squirrels which have been shot, 
and which other small birds of prey fly from with disgust. 


BREEDING. Its nest, placed in a hollow tree, generally contains five or 
six eggs, with transverse brown streaks scattered on a dark olive grey 
ground. The young are reared on meat. 

MODE OF TAKING. It may be taken in autumn by a noose, hanging 
service berries to it ; success is more sure if some nuts be put near. It 
may also be taken in the water-trap. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its actions are as amusing as those of a 
shrike ; it imitates the voice of many animals, and chatters as much as 
the jay. To judge from the form of its tongue, it seems possible to teach 
it to speak, if attempted when young. 


Corvus Pica, LINNAEUS ; La Pie, BUFFON ; Die Elster, BECHSTEIN. 

As the magpie generally frequents places near the abode of 
man, it is well known. It is eighteen inches in length, of 
which the tail alone measures ten. It may be called a hand- 
some bird, although its plumage is only black and white, for 
these colours are perfect in their kind, and the tail, near the 
end, shines with a purple tint, gradually shading into steel 

HABITATION. The magpie builds its nest on trees which are near towns 
and villages ; its eggs are pale green, speckled with grey and brown. In 
autumn the young ones assemble together in small parties. 

FOOD. When wild, the magpie lives on worms, insects, fruits, or roots, 
and sometimes eats eggs and young birds in their nest. 

In the house, it likes bread, meat, and anything that comes from table ; 
in short, when once tamed it does not fail to enter by the window at meal 
times to take its share. If it obtain too much, it hides what it does not eat 
for another time. This propensity is seen in young ones as soon as they 
can feed alone. 

PECULIAR QUALITIES. Although in its wild state the magpie is so sus- 
picious that it is difficult to catch it, it is, however, more easily tamed 
than any other bird ; it will let itself be touched and taken in the hand, 
which even the most docile of other birds will seldom suffer. When 


reared from the nest it learns to speak even better than the raven, and 
becomes as domestic as the pigeon. It gets so fond of raw meat, bread, 
and other refuse of the table, that it does not wish any other food ; this 
is the cause of its frequenting dwelling-houses : if it find any worms or 
insects it only eats them as dainties. 

The time of taking magpies in order to bring them to this point is 
fourteen or fifteen days after coming out of the shell : this is the principal 
thing to remember with respect to any bird which is to be taught to go 
and come. It must be given at first bread soaked in milk or water ; by 
degrees a little chopped meat is added, afterwards it will eat anything from 
the kitchen, even apples and baked pears, and any refuse. As soon as the 
young birds begin to fly high enough to rise *to a neighbouring tree they 
may be let do so when they have had a good meal, soon calling them back 
again to the place fixed for their habitation ; this practice may be repeated 
till they have all their feathers, and can fly well, when some of their 
wing-feathers must be cut, till the winter, a season in which they may be 
pulled out. Whilst the feathers are growing again, they become so well 
accustomed to the house and their master that they may be let go for 
several hours together without any danger of their wandering or not 
returning. If they speak they will only be the more agreeable. 

Old magpies, which may easily be taken in winter with lime-twigs 
placed near some bits of meat, can be taught to remain in the yard by 
keeping the wings cut till the following autumn, when they may be let 
grow ; from this time there is no fear of their not coming with the poultry, 
and in spring they will not fail to build near the house, and seek food for 
their young in the kitchen. I must repeat again that nothing shining 
must be left in the way of these biids, as they will carry it off im- 
mediately, and hide it with great care, let them have as much food as 
they like besides. 

I have lately received a letter from one of my friends, in which he 
expresses himself thus : " I have reared a magpie which comes like a 
cat to rub itself against me until I caress it. It has learnt of itself to fly 
into the country and return. It follows me everywhere, even for more 
than a league, so that 1 have much trouble to rid myself of it, and when 
I do not wish its company in my walks and visits I am obliged to shut 
it up : though wild with any other person, it marks in my eyes the least 
change in my temper. It will sometimes fly to a great distance with othei 
magpies, without however connecting itself with them." 


Coracias Garrula, LINNAEUS ; Le Rollier d'Europe, BUFFON ; Die Mandelkrahe, 

THIS bird resembles the jay in size and form, and is twelve 
inches in length, of which the tail measures four and a half; 
the beak is blackish, before and behind the eyes is a blackish 


triangular spot, formed by the naked skin ; the iris of the eye 
is grey ; the whole of the head, the neck, the throat, the 
breast, the belly, the large wing-coverts, and all the under- 
coverts, are of a beautiful bluish green ; the tail is of a dusky 
blue green near the base, becoming gradually lighter towards 
the end. 

The female and young ones of the first year have the head, 
neck, breast, and belly of a reddish grey tinged with bluish 
green; the back and the last quill-feathers are of a light 
greyish brown ; the rump is green, tinged with indigo ; the 
tail blackish with a tint of blue green ; the rest like the male. 

HABITATION. In its \vihl state the roller may be found in Europe and 
the northern parts of Africa ; it only frequents a few spots in Germany, 
and prefers forests and sandy plains to high mountains : elsewhere it is 
only seen during the time of its passage*. 

In the house it may be let range at will after the wings are clipt. 

FOOD. When wild, its principal food is insects and worms ; it also 
eats small frogs, bulbous roots, acorns, and grains of corn. 

BREEDING.' The nest, placed in the hole of a tree, is made of small 
twigs, hay, feathers, and bristles. It lays from four to seven white eggs, 
on which the male takes his turn to sit during eighteen or twenty days. 
The young ones do not acquire their fine colours till the second year; 
previous to this period the head, neck, and breast are of a whitish grey. 

I had till lately thought that this bird was untamable ; but Dr. Meyer 
of Offenbach has convinced me to the contrary, having himself reared them 
several times, and kept them in his room. This is his method : 

The young ones must be taken from the nest when only half grown, 
and fed on little bits of cow's heart, or any other meat which is lean and 
tender, till they can eat alone ; small frogs, worms, and insects may then 
be added. The means which it takes to kill and swallow these insects 
are curious enough ; it begins by seizing and crushing them with its beak, 
and then throws them into the air several times, in order to receive them 
in its throat, which is very capacious. When the piece is too large, or 
the insect still alive, it strikes it hard against the ground, and begins again 
to throw it in the air, till falling not across, but so as to thread the throat, 
it may be easily swallowed. 

After having been fed thus long enough, a little barleymeal may be 
mixed with the meat. I have eve-n brought it to eat bread, vegetables, 
and softened oatmeal, but it always prefers cow's heart. I have never 
seen it drink. 

* It appears that in its course from Sweden to Algiers it does not range beyond 
a degree in longitude, and is rarely found in Britain. Few birds of this group, 
as far as has hitherto been observed, wander to the right or left during their 
migration. The roller frequents shady and solitary woods, and its character is 
well adapted to them. TRANSLATOR. 


It knows the persou who takes care of it, comes at his call to eat from 
his hands, without however letting itself be caught : but it never becomes 
quite tame, and often defends itself with Its beak. It makes very few 
movements unless to seek its food, and generally remains quite still in the 
same place. If it ever hops about the room it is in an awkward and 
cramped manner, on account of its short feet ; on the other hand, it flies 
very well ; but it must not be left completely at liberty in the room, or 
quite shut up in the cage, because it is so easily startled, and in its fright 
gives itself such violent blows on the head as would soon kill it. The 
best way is to clip one wing, and then let it range the room. These birds 
quarrel with one another, particularly in the evening, for their places on 
the perch. I have kept them for some time in a large aviary with small 
and great birds, and once with my pigeons which I kept shut up ; generally 
I have them in my room, where they mix with several other birds : but 
whether alone or with companions they appeared equally healthy and 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. They have few other attractions besides 
their beautiful plumage, for their voice is only a harsh croaking " crag, 
crag, craag*." 


Oriolus Galbula, LINNAEUS ; Le Loriot, BUFFON ; Der Pirol, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, the male of which is very beautiful, is about 
the size of a blackbird. Its length is nine inches, of which 
the tail measures three and a half, and the beak one. The 
head, neck, back, breast, sides, and lesser wing-coverts, are of 
a brilliant golden yellow ; the wings and the tail are black, 
with yellow gradually increasing to the outer feathers. 

The female is not so brilliant, the golden yellow is only 
visible at the tip of the olive feathers in the tail, and in the 

* I once saw one of these birds drink, after swallowing dry ants' eggs ; it 
then eat greedily of lettuce and endive. Another, which I kept, liked the 
outside of lettuces and spinach after having eaten insects, especially beetles, 
which are very heating. To judge from what I have observed, the roller is 
by nature wild and solitary ; it seldom changes its situation, except to seek its 
food or to hide itself from strangers. It is a good thing, whether kept in a cage 
or let range, always to have a box in its way, in which it may take refuge when 
frightened ; it will not fail to hide itself there, and by this means will not be 
tempted to beat itself violently, which it does when it cannot fly from the object 
of its fright. It knows its mistress very well, lets her take it up, comes near her, 
and sits without any fear on her knees for whole hours without stirring. This 
is as far as it goes even when tamed. It is neither caressing nor familiar; when 
frightened it utters harsh cries, softer ones when its food is brought, but " crag, 
crag, craag," at the same time raising its head, is the expression of its joy or 
triumph. TRANSLATOR. 


lesser and under wing-coverts. All the upper part of the 
body is of the green colour of the siskin, the lower part 
greenish white with brown streaks, and the wings grey black. 

HABITATION When wild, it generally frequents lonely groves, or the 

skirts of forests, always keeping among the most bushy trees, so that it is 
rarely seen on a naked branch ; it always frequents orchards during the 
time of cherries. It is a bird of passage, departing in families in August, 
and not returning till the following May *. 

In the house, if it cannot be let range at pleasure, it must be confined 
in a large wire cage. 

FOOD. When wild, its food is insects and berries. In confinement, 
and if an old one be caught by means of the owl, like the jays, it must be 
kept at first in a quiet and retired place, offering it fresh cherries, then 
adding by degrees ants' eggs, and white bread soaked in milk, or the 
nightingale's food. But I confess there is great difficulty in keeping it 
alive, for with every attention and the greatest care, I do not know a single 
instance of one of this species having been preserved for more than three 
or four mouths. 


BREEDING. The scarcity of the golden oriole arises from its breeding 
but once a year. Its nest, hung with great art in the fork of a small 
bushy branch, is in shape like a purse, or a basket with two handles. 
The female lays four or five white eggs, marked with a few black streaks 
and spots. Before the first moulting, the young ones are like their 

* It is rarely found In Britain. TRANSLATOR, 


mother, and mew like cats. If any one wishes to rear them they must 
be taken early from the nest ; fed on ants' eggs, chopped meat and white 
bread soaked in milk, varying these things as their health requires, and 
as their excrements are too frequent or too soft. In short, they may be 
accustomed to the nightingale's food. I must here remark that a very 
attentive person alone can hope to succeed *. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. I have seen two golden orioles that were 
reared from the nest, one of which, independent of the natural song, 
whistled a minuet, and the other imitated a flourish of trumpets. Its full 
and flute-like tones appeared to me extremely pleasing. Unfortunately 
the fine colours of its plumage were tarnished, which almost always 
happens, above all if the bird be kept in a room filled with smoke, either 
from the stove or from tobacco. One of my neighbours saw two golden 
orioles at Berlin, both of which whistled different airs. 

Its note of call, which in the month of June so well distinguishes 
the golden oriole from other birds, may be well expressed by " ye, 


Upiipa Epops, LINNAEUS ; La Huppe, BUFFON ; Der gemeine Wiedehopf, 

THE length of this bird is twelve inches, of which the tail 
measures four, and the hill, which is black, two and a half. 

* These young birds like to wash ; but it is dangerous for them to have the 
water too cold, or to let them remain too long in it, as cramp in the feet may 
be the consequence. In one which we possessed, the accident was more vexatious 
as the bird was otherwise in good health, having followed the above mentioned 

t The natural song is very like the awkward attempts of a country boy with a 
bad musical ear to whistle the notes of the missel thrush. TRANSLATOR. 


The iris is blackish brown. The feet are black and very 
short. There is a tuft on the head like a fan, formed of a 
double row of feathers, all of them tipped with black. 

HABITATION. In its wild state, the hoopoe remains, during summer, 
in woods near meadows, and pasture land. In the month of August, 
after hay-harvest, it goes in flocks into the plains ; it departs in September, 
and does not return till the end of the following April. It is more 
frequently seen on the ground than perching *. 

In the house, it is not kept in a cage, but let range at will ; it is very 
chilly, at least it is so fond of warmth that it is constantly on the stove, 
and would rather let its beak be dried up than come away from it. 

FOOD. When wild, it may be continually seen in fields, searching for 
its favourite insects among cow dung and the excrements of other animals. 
Some people put it inta their granaries to clear them of weevils and 
spiders ; this has succeeded very well, but to say that it also eats mice, is 
certainly an error. 

In the house, it may be easily reared on meat, and white bread soaked 
in milk, to which meal worms must be added from time to time. 

BREEDING. The hoopoe lays from two to four eggs; its nest, placed 
in the hole of some tree, is a mixture of cow dung and small roots. The 
young are easily reared on the flesh of young pigeons ; but they cannot 
pick it up well, because their tongue, about the size of half a bean, and 
heart-shaped, is too short to turn the food into the throat. They 
are obliged to throw their food in the air, holding the beak open to 
receive it. 

MODE OF TAKING. In the month of August, when a field has been 
observed which the bird frequents most, a small well-limed rod of about 
eight inches in length must be placed on a mole-hill, having two or three 
meal worms fastened to it by means of a thread about three inches long. 
As soon as the hoopoe sees the worms it darts upon them, and thus makes 
the lime twig fall upon itself, which embarrasses it. But these birds, 
whether taken young or old, can very rarely be preserved. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Independently of its beauty, its droll actions 
are very amusing. For instance, it makes a continual motion with its 
head, tapping the floor with its beak, so that it seems as if it walks with 
a stick, at the same time shaking its crest, wings, and tail f. I have had 
several of them in my house, and have always been diverted by their 
singular grimaces. When any one looks at them steadily, they immediately 
begin their droll trieks. 

The following is an extract from a letter written by M. von Schauroth 
on the hoopoe, which I think it is well to insert here : 

" With great care and attention, I was able last summer to rear two 
yoxing hoopoes, taken from a nest which was placed at the top of an oak 
tree. These little birds followed me everywhere, and when they heard 
me at a distance showed their joy by a particular chirping, jumped into 

* It is not common in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 

t It may be added that it also walks very gracefully TRANSLATOR. 



the air, or as soon as I was seated climbed on my clothes, particularly 
when giving them their food from a pan of milk, the cream of which 
they swallowed greedily ; they climbed higher and higher, till at last they 
perched on my shoulders, and sometimes on my head, caressing me very 
affectionately : notwithstanding this, I had only to speak a word to rid 
myself of their company, they would then immediately retire to the stove. 
Generally they would observe my eyes to discover what my temper might 
be, that they might act accordingly. I fed them like the nightingales, 
or with the universal paste, to which I sometimes added insects ; they 
would never touch earth-worms, but were very fond of beetles and May- 
bugs, these they first killed, and then beat them with their beak into a 
kind of oblong ball ; when this was done, they threw it into the air, that 
they might catch it and swallow it lengthways ; if it fell across the throat 
they were obliged to begin again. Instead of bathing, they roll in the 
sand. I took them one day into a neighbouring field, that they might 
catch insects for themselves, and had theii an opportunity of remarking 
their innate fear of birds of prey, and their instinct under it. As soon as 
they perceived a raven, or even a pigeon, they were on their bellies in the 
twinkling of an eye, their wings stretched out by the side of their head, 
so that the large quill feathers touched : they were thus surrounded by a 
sort of crown, formed by the feathers of the tail and wings, the head 
leaning on the back, with the beak pointing upwards ; in this curious 
posture they might be taken for an old rag. As soon as the bird which 
frightened them was gone they jumped up immediately, uttering cries of 
joy. They were very fond of lying in the sun ; they showed their 
content by repeating in a quivering tone, " vec, vec, vec ; n when angry 
their notes are harsh, and the male, which is known by its colour being 
redder, cries "hoop, hoop." The female had the trick of dragging its 
food about the room, by this means it was covered with small feathers, and 
other rubbish, which by degrees formed into an indigestible ball in its 
stomach, about the size of a nut, of which it died. The male lived 
through the winter ; but not quitting the heated stove, its beak became 
so dry that the two parts separated, and remained more than an inch apart ; 
thus it died miserably." 

"I once saw," says Buffon, "one of these birds which had been taken 
in a net, and being then old, or at least adult, must hare had natural 
habits : its attachment to the person who took care of it was very strong, 
and even exclusive. It appeared to be happy only when alone with her ; 
if strangers came unexpectedly it raised its crest with surprise and fear, 
and hid itself on the top of a bed which was in the room. Sometimes it 
was bold enough to come from its asylum, but it fled directly to its 
beloved mistress, and seemed to see no one but her. It had two very 
different tones ; one soft, as if from within, and seemed the ver.y seat of 
sentiment, which it addressed to its mistress ; the other sharp, and more 
piercing, which expressed anger and fear. It was never kept in a cage by 
day or night, and was permitted to range the house at pleasure : however, 
though the windows were often open, it never showed the least desire to 
escape, its wish for liberty not being so strong as its attachment. 

" This pretty bird accidentally died of hunger. Its mistress had kept 
U for four months, feeding it only on bread and cheese." 


Cuculus canorus, LINNJEOS ; Le Coucou, BUFFON ; Der gemeine Kukuk, 

ALTHOUGH it is not larger than the turtle-dove, its length is 
fourteen inches, but seven of these are included in the tail, 
three quarters of which are covered by the folded wings. The 
beak, black above, and bluish beneath ; the feet have two claws' 
before and two behind. The head, the top of the neck, and 
the rest of the upper part of the body are of a dark ash colour, 
changing like the throat of the pigeon on the back and wing- 

In the female, which is smaller, the upper part of the body 
is of a dark brown, with dirty brown spots, which are scarcely 
visible. The under part of the neck is a mixture of ash grey 
and yellow, crossed with dark streaks. The belly is of a dirty 
white, with dark transverse lines. 

HABITATION. When wild, it is a bird of passage, which arrives in April 
and departs in September, and even much sooner, according to an English 

In the house, it may be let run about, or confined in a krge wooden 

FOOD. When wild, it cats all sorts of insects, particularly caterpillars 
on trees. 

When confined, it is fed with meat, insects, and the universal paste 
made of wheat-meal. 



BREEDING AND PECULIARITIES. Every one knows that the female 
cnckoo never sits upon her eggs, but intrusts that care to other birds, 
particularly those which feed on insects, laying one or two eggs in their 

In order to tame a cuckoo, it must be taken from the nest : I never tried 
myself, but several of my friends hare. As this is a curious bird, and 
most bird-fanciers like to have it in their room or aviary, I shall here insert 
some observations on this subject, by M. von Schaurcfth, who was before 

" The euckoo possesses hardly any qualities which would render it fit 
to be a house bird : if old, it is too obstinate and voracious, generally it is 
furious, sullen, and melancholy. I have reared several ; the last was 
taken from the nest of a yellow-hammer : its eyes were not opened when I 
took it, yet it darted at me with fury. Before I had had it six days it would 
swallow in a passion every thing, that came near it. I fed it on bird's flesh, 
and was obliged to continue this food for a long time before it could feed 
itself. Its motions were so quick in jumping or moving that it would 
overthrow any cups of food which happened to be in its way. Its tail 
grew very slowly. It was never entirely tamed ; it would dart at my 
hands and face, attacked every thing which came too near it, and even the 
other birds. It ate the poultry paste in great quantities, and discharged in 
proportion, which made it very dirty ; I have even seen it, like x the ostrich, 
eat its own excrements. Its short and climbing feet are so awkward that 
it cannot walk ; it makes two or three jumps, but flies very well." 

" Though cunning a.nd solitary," says Buffon, " the cuckoos may be 
given some sort of education. Several persons of my acquaintance have 
reared and tamed them. They feed them on minced meat, either dressed 
or raw, insects, eggs, soaked bread, and fruit. One of these tamed cuckoos 
knew its master, came at his call, followed him to the chase, perched 
on his gun, and if it found a cherry tree in its way it would fly to it, and 
not return till it had eaten plentifully ; sometimes it would not return to 
its master for the whole day, but followed him at a distance, flying from 
tree to tree. In the house it might range at will, and passed the night on 
the roost. The excrement of this bird is white, and in great quantities ; 
this is one of the disagreeables in rearing it. Great care must be taken 
to keep it from the cold from autumn till winter ; this is the critical period 
for these birds, at least it was at this time that I lost all which I had 
tried to rear, besides many other birds of a different species." 


Graccula religiosa, LINNJEUS ; Mino ou Mainate, BUFFON ; Der Mino oder 
Plauderer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is the size of a blackbird, ten inches and a half 
long, of which the tail measures three, and the beak one 
and a half. The feathers on the side of .the head are short, 



like velvet, but on the top, descending towards the back of the 
head, they are the general length ; on both sides of the head 
there is naked skin, which begins under the eyes, and extends 
to the back of the head, but without uniting ; its breadth is 
uneven, near the eyes it is wide and yellow, but when the bird 
is pleased or is angry this colour varies. Black is the pre- 
dominant colour of the body, with some tints of purple, violet, 
or green, according to the different light it is in ; the feathers 
of the tail have a white streak. 

OBSERVATIONS. The minor grakle is found in both the Indies, in 
Jamaica, as well as in the islands beyond the Ganges, as far as Java. 
Their food is vegetable : xhose which are brought to Europe willingly eat 
cherries and raisins ; if these be shown them without being given directly 
they begin to cry and weep like a child. They become exceedingly tame 
and confiding; they whistle exceedingly well, and chatter better than 
any parrot. The Chinese ladies are very fond of them ; they are sold 
very dear in Java. In the inland parts of Germany nothing is so rare as 
one of these birds. 



THE general characteristics of this group are, a beak large, 
but varying in size, very hollow, light, raised above, and 
hooked before ; in the species immediately following, the legs 
are short, strong, and the feet formed for climbing ; they are 
furnished with a tongue, thick, fleshy, and rounded like the 
human tongue, which renders articulation easy to them. All 
these birds are foreign, and ought to be reared from the nest 
when intended for speaking. 


Psittacus Macao, LINN.EUS ; L'Ara Rouge, BCFFON ; Der rothe Aras, BECHSTHIN. 

THE beauty of their plumage, and the facility with which 
they repeat words, are the two principal reasons for the intro- 


duction of parrots into parlours. Some imitate the songs of 
other birds and warble very sweetly. We have observed, that 
in order to speak distinctly the tongue must be thick, rounded, 
and the muscle loose enough to permit the requisite motion ; 
hence it happens that parrots, above all those with a short 
tail, pronounce so very distinctly. The ravens, jackdaws, and 
jays come next to them ; but the starlings and blackbirds 
surpass them in the formation of the larynx. 

The red and blue uiaccaw is one of the largest of the parrot 
tribe, being two feet eight inches in length. The hardest 
stones of the peach cannot resist the strength of its beak, the 
upper mandible of which is very much hooked. The claws 
are directed forward, and two backward. The naked cheeks 
are covered with a wrinkled whitish skin. The head, neck, 
breast, belly, thighs, top of the back, and the upper wing- 
coverts are of the finest vermilion. The lower part of the 
back and the rump are light blue. The scapulars and large 
wing-coverts are a mixture of blue, yellow, and green. 

The colours sometimes vary, especially in the wings and 
tail, but the species will not be the less easily known on that 

The female very much resembles the male. 

HABITATION. When wild it inhabits South America, and may be found 
in Brazil and Guiana, in damp woods, and always in pairs. In the house 
it may be let range at will, giving it a roost with several rings placed across. 
Like its fellows, it may be kept in a very large strong wire cage, high and 
wide enough to let it move with ease, and preserve its handsome tail in all 
its beauty. 

FOOD. In its native country the fruit of the palm tree is its principal 
food ; our fruit it also likes, but white bread soaked in milk agrees with it 
better ; biscuit does not hurt it ; but meat, sweetmeats, and other niceties 
are very injurious ; and though at first it does not appear to be injured, it 
becomes unhealthy, its feathers stand up separate, it pecks and tears them, 
above all those on the first joint of the pinion, and it even makes holes in 
different parts of its body. It drinks little this is perhaps occasioned by 
its eating nothing dry. Many bird-fanciers say that the best food for 
parrots is simply the crumbs of white bread, well baked, without salt, soaked 
in water, and then slightly squeezed in the hand. But though this appears 
to agree with them pretty well, it is however certain that now and then 
something else ought to be added. I have observed, indeed, that parrots 
which are thus fed are very thin, have hardly strength to bear moulting, and 
sometimes even do not moult at all ; in that case they become asthmatic, 
and die of consumption. It is clear that feeding them onlv on this food, 


which has very little if any moisture in it, is not sufficient to nourish them 
properly, at least during the moulting season, and while the feathers are 
growing again. I never saw a parrot in better health than one which 
belonged to a lady, who fed it on white bread soaked in boiled milk, having 
more milk than the bread would absorb, which the parrot drank with 
apparent pleasure ; there was also put into the drawer of its eage some sea 
biscuit, or white bread soaked in boiling water ; it was also given fruit 
when in season. It is necessary to be very careful that the milk is not 

Some young maccaws are fed on hemp-seed, which must always be of the 
year before, as the new would be too warm and dangerous. Yet they must 
not be fed entirely on this food, but there must be added white bread 
soaked in milk or water, as has already been mentioned, some fruit and 
nuts, but never bitter almonds, as they will infallibly kill all young animals. 
In all cases the excrements of the bird will indicate the state of its health, 
and whether the food ought to be changed or not. 

Although maecaws rarely want to drink, as their food is very moist, yet 
they must not be left without water, which is generally placed in one of 
the divisions of their tin drawer. It is also a good thing to entice them to 
bathe, nothing is more favourable to their health, or better facilitates the 
painful operation of moulting, or keeps their feathers in better order. A 
little attention to these favourites, deprived of their liberty, their natural 
climate, and food, cannot be too much trouble to amiable persons who are 
fond of them, and to whom these pretty birds become greatly attached. 

BREEDING. The red and blue maccaws build their nests in the holes of 
old decayed trees ; they enlarge and make the hole even with their beak, 
and line it with feathers. The female, like that of the other American 
parrots, breeds twice in the year, laying two eggs each time, which are 
exactly like those of the partridge. In Europe the females also lay well, 
but the eggs are generally unfruitful ; when they are not so it is very diffi- 
cult to make the mother sit ; there are, however, a few examples of the 
female maccaw being so well inclined to perform this office, that she will 
sit on pigeons 1 and hens' eggs, which are hatched in due time. 

The maccaws which we have in this country have generally been reared 
from the nest, particularly those which speak, for the old ones would be 
too savage and untractable, and would only stun one with their unbearable 
cries, the faithful interpreters of their different passions. 

DISEASES. Amongst those to which maccaws are particularly subject, 
declines are the most frequent. Some cures for this are mentioned in the 
Introduction, which it would be well to employ. During the moulting 
season attention must be redoubled, not only to keep them in health but 
to preserve their beautiful plumage. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. As maccaws are very dear they are generally 
only found in the possession of rich bird-fanciers. In the centre of Ger- 
many one costs from fifty to a hundred rix dollars, and in the maritime 
cities thirty or forty. Their beautiful plumage forms their principal attrac- 
tion. They also learn to repeat many words, to go and come, and also to 
obey the least signal from their master. I confess, however, that their 


awkward walk, their heavy movements, and their constant inclination to 
help themselves along with their beak, added to their great uncleanliness, 
does not appear very agreeable. They are sometimes very wicked, taking 
dislike to some people, and may do great injury to children if left alone 
with them. Owing to their dung being very liquid, abundant, and foetid, 
they must be cleaned regularly every day. 


Psittacus Ararauna, LINN.EUS ; L'Ara Bleu ; Der Blaue Aras, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, which is about the size of the former, appears 
to me much more beautiful, though the colours of its plumage 
are not so striking. Its beak is black, the feet dark grey ; the 
cheeks flesh-coloured, streaked in the form of an S, with lines 
of short black feathers. The iris is light yellow ; the throat 
ornamented with a black collar ; the forehead, to the top of the 
head, the sides, and small wing-coverts are of a dark green ; the 
rest of the upper part of the body is of a fine blue ; all the 
colours are apt to vary. 

HABITATION. Being, like the preceding one, a native of Surinam, 
Guiana, and Brazil, its way of living and qualities are much the same. It 
does not, however, learn to speak so easily, and cannot pronounce the 
word maccaw so distinctly ; but it imitates perfectly the bleating of sheep, 
the mewing of cats, and the barking of dogs. Its custom of only drinking 
in the evening seems extraordinary. 


Psittacus pertinax, LINNSUS ; La Perruche Illinoise ; Der Illinesische 
Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is a species which almost all bird-sellers have. Its 
length is nine inches and a half. The beak is light grey, the 
eyes surrounded with a naked greyish skin, the iris is deep 
orange. The feet are dark grey. The principal colour on the 
top of the body is green, that under is yellowish grey. The 
forehead, cheeks, and throat are of a brilliant orange ; the top 
of the head is dark green ; this colour is lighter and yellowish 
on the back of the head ; the top of the neck is greenish grey ; 
there are some orange spots on the belly. 

In the female, the forehead only is deep yellow, and there is 
no other mixture of yellow either on the head or belly. 


HABITATION. This parrot is also a native of the hottest parts of South 
America, frequenting savannas, or any other open places, and building its 
nest even in the holes of the Termites ( fatalis, LINNAEUS.) These 
birds are so sociable that they may be seen in flocks of five or six 

In the house, they must always be kept in pairs, and generally in cages. 
They show the tenderness of their attachment to each other by their con- 
tinual caresses ; this is in fact so great, that if one die the other soon 
languishes from grief. 

FOOD When these birds go forth to steal chestnuts, acorns, peas, and 

similar fruits, which form their food, they always place a sentinel to warn 
them of the approach of an enemy : at the least alarm, they fly away, 
uttering loud cries. When confined, they are fed with nuts, and bread 
soaked in boiled milk. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Their handsome plumage, their affectionate and 
confiding ways, and the tenderness of attachment which these pretty birds 
have for each other, make them great favourites ; but they learn scarcely 
any thing, and their continual cries are sometimes very annoying. 


Psittacus rufirostris, LINNAEUS ; Le Sincialo, BUFFON ; Der rothschnablige Sittich, 

THE length of this species is twelve inches and a half, but 
the tail alone measures seven inches and a half. This bird is 
not larger than a blackbird ; the folded wings only cover one 
quarter of the tail, the centre feathers of which are nearly five 
inches longer than the exterior ones. The upper mandible of 
the beak is of a blood red, with the point black-; the under 
one is entirely black. The circle of the eyes, the naked mem- 
brane of the beak, and the feet, are flesh-coloured ; the irides 
are orange. The rest of the body is yellowish green, with the 
wings bordered with light yellow. There are varieties of dif- 
ferent shades of green, the tail feathers of which are blue at 
the extremity. 

This species inhabits the hottest part of South America. Its 
cry is noisy and frequent ; it soon learns to speak, whistle, and 
imitate the sounds of most animals as well as birds. In the 
cage, where it cannot have much other exercise, it chatters and 
squalls so incessantly, that it is often very disagreeable. It 
must be treated like the preceding species, but does not appear 
so delicate. 


Faittacus cyanocephalus, LINN^US ; La Perruche a tfite bleu, BUFFON ; Der 
Blaukopfige Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS beautiful species is not more scarce than the preceding, 
and is about the size of a turtle dove, although its length is 
eleven inches and a half, six of which being included in the 
tail, half of this is covered by the folded wings. The naked 
skin round the eyes is yellow ; the upper part of the body is 
green, the under part yellowish. The forehead has some tints 
of red ; the head is blue ; the throat violet, with a grey tint. 

This parrot comes from India, and is only prized for its 
beauty, for it cannot learn to speak. It must be treated like 
the preceding species. 


Psittacus solstitialis, LINNAEUS ; La Perruche jaune, BUFFON ; Der gelbe Sitticb, 

THE whole length of this bird is eleven inches and a half. 
The tail is wedge-shaped, and the folded wings cover one-third 
of it. The beak and feet are green. The throat, the naked 
membranes of the beak, and the circle of the eyes, are light 
grey ; the iris is yellow. The general colour of the body is 
orange, with olive spots on the back and wing coverts. 

This parrot comes from Angola, and easily learns to speak. 
The food and treatment must be the same as the preceding. 


Psittacus Amboinensis, LINNJEUS ; Le Lory Perruche tricolor, BUFFON : Der 
Amboinische Sittich-Lory, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species somewhat resembles the Ceram lory, a variety 
of Le Lori Noir of BufFon {Psittacus garrulus aurora, LIN- 
NAEUS); owing to this resemblance the French also call it 


tAurore. Its length is sixteen inches, of which the tail, which 
is round, measures half. The beak is nine lines in length; 
there is no naked membrane, and the nostrils are in front ; the 
iris is of a golden hue. The head, the nape of the neck, and 
all the lower part of the body, are the colour of vermilion. A 
ring of sky blue, very indistinct, surrounds the neck ; all the 
feathers en the top of the body are of a beautiful green, with a 
fine edge of blue, or some dark colour. 

In the female, the head is green ; the throat, the under part 
of the neck, and the breast, are the same, but having a reddish 
tint. The small tail-coverts are dark green, edged with red ; 
the tail itself is tinged with green. The beak is horn brown, 
with a reddish tint above and below. 

OBSERVATIONS. A pair of this beautiful species were sold to his High- 
ness the Duke of Meiningen as coming from Botany Bay, but they are 
really natives of Amboina. Timid and wild, this bird has a sharp whistle 
and a cry like " gaick? but cannot speak. The feathers are so loose that 
they generally come off in the hand when touched ; but they grow again 
very quickly. It is kept and treated like the others. 


Psittacus Pennanti, LATHAM ; La Purpure ; Der Pennantsche Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

IN the male, which very much resembles the sparrow-hawk, 
the prevailing colour is a reddish purple, from which it derives 
its name among bird- sellers. The head and rump are dark 
crimson ; the throat, as well as the small outer wing-coverts, 
and the centre pen-feathers, are of a most beautiful sky blue ; 
all the under part of the body is bright crimson, shading to 
bluish on the thighs. The tail is of a deep blue. 

In the female, which the bird-sellers pass as a different 
species, under the name of the Palm-tree Parrot, the prevailing 
colour is greenish yellow ; it resembles the male sparrow-hawk 
in make. The head, the sides of the neck, and half the breast, 
are of a bright crimson ; the throat pearl blue, shading a little 
to sky blue on the edges; the top of the neck, the back, 
shoulders, and last quill-feathers, are of a velvet black. All 
the feathers are edged with greenish yellow, except the scapu- 
lars and the feathers of the neck, the edges of which are the 


colour of sulphur. The rump and part round the vent are of 
parrot green, the long lower coverts of the tail crimson, edged 
with greenish yellow ; the knee bands have a shade of sky 
blue. The under part of the body is of a brilliant yellow, with 
some irregular red dashes and spots, which show its relation to 
the former bird. The base of the tail is green, like the neck 
of the water-duck ; the rest of the wings and tail are like the 

OBSERVATIONS. I have seen several of this superb species, -which he- 
longed to his Highness the Duke of Meiningen. It is a great pity that 
they are so wild, timid, and difficult to teach. Their note is a kind of 
chirping, -which is rarely heard. Their feathers are as loose as the pre- 
ceding species. They come from Botany Bay, and are very dear. Being 
more delicate, they require more attention than the other parroquets. 


Psittacus bimaculatus, SPAURMANN ; Perruche a Moustache ; Der Zweyfleckigs 
Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this very beautiful parrot is fourteen inches, of 
which the tail measures more than half ; its size is that of the 
turtle-dove, but very slender. The beak is large, orange- 
coloured, or pale blood red ; the head of a fine ash colour, tinted 
with green on the top, and having a narrow black band on the 
forehead; the part near the eyes is naked, and pale flesh- 
coloured ; the forehead light yellow ; an almost triangular spot 
extends from the base of the beak across the cheeks to the 
throat ; all the top of the body is meadow green, spotted with 
black. The under part of the body is of a deep rose colour. 

There is a variety of this species with a black beak. 

In the female, or what is supposed to be so, the forehead, 
the throat, the sides of the head and neck, are pale orange 
colour ; an oval black streak descends from the corners of the 
beak towards the throat ; the nape, the top of the neck, the 
shoulders, back, rump, and upper part of the tail, are meadow 
green. The breast and belly, to the extremity, are of a fine 

OBSERVATIONS. This hird is very docile, amiahle, and talkative. Its 
mildness is very pleasing, and it is extremely affectionate and caressing. 
Its cry is " gaie, gaie, gaie." It comes from the Islands of the Southern 
Ocean and Botany Bay. 


Psittacus erythrocephalus, LINN^US ; La Perruche cardinale ; Der Cardinal 
Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this species is twelve inches, of which the tail, 
which is very wedge-shaped, measures six and three quarters. 
The heak is peach blossom, and the naked membrane ash 
coloured, the iris orange, and the feet grey. All the head is 
violet, tinted with blue and red ; a black band surrounds the 
neck; the throat is black, the upper part of the body dark 
green, the under part light green. 

In the female, the beak is yellow ; the head of a dark blue 
ash-colour, without the ring round the neck ; but the place of 
it is marked by a slight yellow tint. The young ones also have 
no ring, and the colour of the head is not marked ; it varies 
from rose red to green. 


1. The Blossom-headed Parrakeet, LATHAM ; Psittacus erythrocephalug, LINN^US ; 
Perruche t6te rouge de Gingi, BUFFON ; Der Rothkopfige Sittich aus Gingi, 

THE head is red, having on the back a mixture of light 
blue. A narrow black line passes from the chin to the nape 
of the neck ; another line, of light green, below the former, 
forms with it a ring round the neck. The rest of the plumage 
is green, but the under part of the body has a tint of light 
yellow. The tail is green above, having the inner border light 

2. The Rose-headed Ring Parrakeet, LATHAM ; Psittacus erythrocephalus Benga- 
lensis, LINNAEUS ; Petite Perruche a tfite couleur de rose longs brins, BUFFON ; 
Der Rothkopfige Sittich aus Bengalen, BECHSTEIN. 

THE upper mandible is light yellow, the lower black, the 
membrane brownish. The top of the head and cheeks are rose 
coloured, the back of the head blue, the throat and ring like 
the preceding variety, as well as the red spot on the wing- 
coverts ; the two centre feathers of the tail are blue, the others 
green, edged with blue. 


3. The Borneo Parrakeet ; Psittacus erythrocephalus Borneus, LINNAEUS ; 
Perruche a tete rouge de pscher de Borneo ; Der Rothko'pfige Sittich aus 

THE upper mandible is red, the under black, the membrane 
ash-coloured, the iris the same; the whole head is peach- 
blossom, with a green tint on the forehead ; there is a black 
line between the eyes, near the membrane of the beak ; another 
extends from the lower mandible obliquely on each side of the 
neck, widening on the back. The upper part of the body to 
the tail is light green, shading to light yellow towards the 
middle of the wing- coverts ; all the under part from the chin 
is peach blossom, tinged .with chestnut colour ; the feathers of 
the thighs, the tail-coverts, and the middle of the belly, are 
green ; the feathers of the tail are the same, but the centre 
ones are rather brown, and all are spotted with white. 

OBSERVATIONS.. This parrakeet, so easily distinguished by its plumage, 
is lively, fearful, and its cry is frequent. It learns nothing of itself, and 
it is with great difficulty that it can be made to repeat a few words. I 
have seen it, with the preceding and following species, among the beautiful 
collection of birds belonging to his Highness the Duke of Meiningen. 


Psittacus Manillensis, BECHSTEIN ; Perruche a collier couleur de rose, BUFFON ; 
Der Manilische Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS beautiful species, whose colours are soft and the feathers 
thick and silky, is hardly larger than the thrush, though its 
length is from fourteen to fifteen inches, two-thirds of which 
are included in the tail. The naked membrane is flesh-coloured, 
the eyelids very red. The plumage is, in general, light green. 
From the black throat there extends a ring round the neck, 
which is black at first, and afterwards pale rose colour; the 
back of the neck in old birds has a blue tint. 

In the female the black of the throat is not so wide, there is 
no rose-coloured ring, and the under part of the body more 
nearly approaches yellow. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species, which is very mild, tame, and beautiful, is 
a native of the Philippines, particularly Manilla ; some say that it is also 
very common in Africa. It is very pleasing, certainly, but rarely learns to 
speak, and then only a few words. It must be treated like other delicate 



Psittacus Guianensis, LINNJEUS ; La Perruche Pavouane, BDFFON; Der Guianiscbe 
Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is only twelve inches in length, including the 
tail, which measures six and a quarter, and has the two centre 
feathers three inches longer than the others. The upper part 
of the body is dark green, the under lighter. The cheeks 
are not spotted with bright red till the third year. 

OBSERVATIONS. It is a native of Guiana, Cayenne, and the Caribbee 
Islands. Bird-sellers in Germany are generally provided with them, as 
they are not delicate or difficult to carry about. They must be treated 
like the former species. 

"This," says Buffon, "is, of all parrots from the new continent, the 
most easily taught to speak ; nevertheless it is only tractable in this parti- 
cular, for even after a long captivity it still preserves a native wildness 
and ferocity, and is sometimes stubborn and ill-humoured. But as it has 
a lively eye, is neatly and well formed, it is admired for its shape." 


Psittacus pullariws, LINN^US ; La Perruche a tete rouge, BUFFON ; Der Roth- 
kopfige Guineische Siltich, BECHSTEIN. 

BIRD -SELLERS give the name of Guinea-sparrow to this 
little parrakeet, which is not larger than the common cross- 
bill. The beak is red, but pale at the tip, the membrane at 
the base ash colour, as well as the circle round the eyes. The 
feet are grey, the iris bluish ; the front part of the head and 
throat are red ; the edge of the wings and rump blue. The 
upper side of the tail feathers is red, the under has a black 
streak, the tip is green ; the two centre feathers are entirely 
green, like the rest of the body. 

In the female, the colours are the same, though lighter, and 
the lower part of the wing is yellow. 

These birds may be found in any part of the torrid zone in 
the old world, from Guinea to India. As most of them died 
on the voyage, there were formerly very feAv of them in 
Europe, but as the means of preserving them is now better 
known, most bird-sellers have them. Though they cannot 


learn to speak, and their cry is rather disagreeable, yet one 
cannot help admiring them as much for their beauty as their 
great mildness. They are so much attached to each other that 
they must always be had hi pairs, and if one dies the other 
rarely survives it. Some people think that a mirror hung in 
the cage, in which the survivor may imagine that it still sees 
its lost companion, will console it. The male remains affec- 
tionately near the female, feeds her, and gives her the most 
tender caresses ; she, in her turn, shows the greatest uneasi- 
ness if she be separated from him for an instant. In the 
countries which this species inhabits, it makes great havoc 
among the corn. In Europe it is fed on canary seed, millet. 
and white bread soaked in boiled milk. 


Psittacus Carolinensis, LINH.EUS* ; La Perruche a tte jaune, BUFFON, pi. enl. 499 ; 
Der Carolinische Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is about the size of a turtle-dove ; its length is 
thirteen inches, of which the tail measures at least half. The 
beak is as white as ivory, the membrane and naked circle of 
the eyes, as well as the feet and claws, greyish white ; the 
front of the head of a beautiful orange, the back, the nape of 
the neck, and the throat, light yellow j the rest of the neck, 
the back, breast, belly, and sides, are green ; the tail is green, 
and very wedge-shaped. 

OBSERVATIONS. A native of Guiana ; this pretty parrot also breeds in 
Carolina, and sometimes even penetrates into Virginia in large flocks 
during the fruit season, making great ravages among the nuts, of which it 
only eats almonds, rejecting all others. It is frequently brought to Europe ; 
and in Paris it is the species of parrot which costs the most. It is fed, 
says Buffon, on hemp seed ; but it is better to add white bread soaked in 
water, or boiled milk which is not sour, wheat, Indian corn, and the like. 
Its cry is frequent ; it is rather wicked, and does not speak ; but it well 
makes up for this by its beauty, the elegance of its form, its graceful 
movements, and its strong and almost exclusive attachment to its mistress; 
it likes to hang by the beak, even while sleeping, and will let itseTf be 
carried thus every where without moving for a very long time. 

* It appears that the Psittacus Ludavicianus, LINN^US, Perruche d t&e aurore 
BUFFON, is the same species. 



Psittacua passerinus, LINN.KUS ; La Perruche passerine 6te, ou Toui e'te', BUFFON ; 
Der Sperlingsparkit, BECHSTEIN. 

ITS size very little exceeds that of the sparrow. A beau- 
tiful light green is the predominant colour of its plumage ; but 
the rump is blue, the large wing-coverts are the same ; the 
small ones, again, are green. The beak, the membrane at the 
base, the circle of the eyes, and the feet, are often orange ; it 
sometimes varies, however, to yellow, ash colour, and flesh 

OBSERVATIONS. This species is as social and affectionate as the pre- 
ceding, but much more rare and dear. It is a native of Brazil, and can- 
not speak. It must be fed on canary seed, millet, and hemp. 


Psittacus murinus, LINN.EUS ; La Perruche a poitrine grise, BUFFON ; Der 
griiubrustige Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS pretty parrot, distinguished by its silvery grey colour, 
is about the size of a turtle-dove. Its ruffling the feathers of 
its head, particularly on the cheeks, added to the smallness 
and peculiar way in which it holds its bill, which is always 
buried in its breast, gives it somewhat the appearance of a 
small screech owl. Its length is ten inches, of which the 
wedge-shaped tail measures half. The beak is three-quarters 
of an inch in length, pearl grey, or whitish. The forehead, to 
about the middle of the top of the head, the cheeks, throat, 
breast, and half the belly are of a light silvery grey, with 
shades appearing like grey stripes ; the upper part of the body 
and tail are of a brilliant siskin green. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species is very mild, speaks but little, and even 
seems to be of a melancholy turn. Its call, which is " keirshe" is loud 
and sonorous. It is the same species which is mentioned in the Travels 
of Bougainville, by Pernetty. " We found it," says he, " at Montevideo, 
where our sailors bought several at two piastres a-piece. These birds 
were very tame and harmless ; they aoon learnt to speak, and became so 
fond of the men that they were never easy when away from them." The 
general opinion is, that they will not live more than a year and a half if 


kept in a cage ; this prejudice is completely refuted by the bird from which 
this description is taken, and which may be seen in the collection of his 
Highness the Duke of Saxe Meiningen. 


Psittacus canicularis, LINNAEUS ; La Perruche a front rouge, BUFFON ; Der roth- 
stirnige Sittich, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, which is rather common among us, is ten 
inches in length, of which the tail measures half, of which the 
folded wings cover one third ; the forehead is scarlet, the top of 
the head a fine sky blue, paler at the back ; the upper part of 
the body meadow green, the under lighter. 

The forehead is orange, and the circle of the eye pale yellow 
may be peculiar to the female. 

OBSERVATIONS. This parrot is handsome, but does not speak. Although 
a native of South America, is not very delicate or difficult to preserve. The 
food as usual. 


Psittacus lunatus, BECHSTEIN ; Der Mondfleckige, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, which I have not found described by any 
author, may be seen in the collection belonging to his High- 
ness the Duke of Saxe Meiningen. Its length is eleven inches 
and a half, of which the tail measures six. The beak, one inch 
in length. The forehead is deep red, a crescent of the same 
colour extends towards the upper part of the neck, ornamenting 
the top of the breast ; the upper part of the body is leek green, 
becoming a little darker on the head. The under part of the 
body is light green, slightly tinted with red on the breast ; the 
under part of the pen and tail feathers is dirty yellow. 

OBSERVATIONS. I do not know of what country this parrot is a native. 
It appears very lively, cries often and very loudly "goeur, goeur" speaks 
prettily and distinctly, and appears very healthy. The bird from which 
the discription is taken is certainly a proof that this species will attain a 
great age, for it is very old. 



Psittacus cristatus, LINNJEUS ; Kakatoes a huppe blanche, BUFFON ; Der gemeine 

THE size of this bird is that of a barn-door fowl, and its 
length seventeen inches. The beak is blackish, and the mem- 
brane at the base black ; the iris is dark brown, the circle of 
the eye white. The whole of the plumage is white except the 
large quill-feathers and the exterior feathers of the tail, the 
inner beards of which are primrose-yellow to the centre. The 
tuft, which the bird raises and sinks at will, is five inches in 

OBSERVATIONS. At present, this species is only found in the Moluccas. 
The general custom in Germany is to give it a spacious cage in the form 
of a bell, from the top of -which is hung a large metal ring, in which it 
likes to perch. 

The food of the cockatoo is the same as that of the other large species 
of the same family ; however, it appears to he very fond of vegetables, 
farinaceous grains, and pastry. For its qualities, I cannot do better than 
quote Buffon : 

" Cockatoos," says he, " which may be known by their tuft, are not 
easily taught to speak ; there is one species which does not speak at all ; 
but this is in some measure compensated for by the great facility with 
which they are tamed ; in some parts of India they are even so far domes- 
ticated that they will build their nests on the roofs of the houses : this 
facility of education is owing to their intelligence, which is very superior to 
that of other parrots. They listen, understand, and obey ; but it is in 
vain that they make the same efforts to repeat what is said to them : they 
seem to wish to make up for it by other expressions of feeling and by affec- 
tionate caresses. There is a mildness and grace in all their movements, 
which greatly adds to their beauty. In March, 1775, there were two r a 
male and female, at the fair of St. Germain, in Paris, which obeyed with 
great docility the orders given them, either to spread out their tuft, or sa- 
lute people with a bend of the head, or to touch different objects with 
their beak and tongue, or to reply to questions from their master with a 
mark of assent which clearly expressed a silent yes : they also showed by 
repeated signs the number of persons in the room, the hour of day, the 
colour of clothes, &c. ; they kissed one another by touching their beaks, 
and even caressed each other; this showed a wish to pair, and the master 
affirms that they often do so even in our climates. Though the cockatoos, 
like other parrots, use their bill in ascending and descending, yet they have 
not their heavy disagreeable step ; on the contrary, they are very active, 
and hop about very nimbly." 


Psittacus sulphureus, LINN/EUS ; Kakatoes a huppe jaune, BUFFON ; Der 
gelbhaubige Kakatu, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this species is fourteen inches and a half. 
The beak, the naked membrane, and feet are blackish; the 
circle of the eye is rather white, and the iris inclining to red. 
The general colour of this species is also white, with a prim- 
rose-yellow tint on the wings and tail, as well as a spot of the 
same colour under the eyes. The tuft, which is pointed, and 
composed of soft thread-like feathers, is of lemon-colour. 

It comes from the same country as the preceding, to which 
it yields neither in elegance, intelligence, docility, nor mild- 
ness. It is fond of caresses, and returns them with pleasure : 
all its motions are equally full of grace, delicacy, and beauty. 
There are two varieties of this species, which only differ in 


Psittacus Moluccensis, LINN.EUS ; Kakatoes a huppe rouge, BUFFON ; Der 
rothaubige Kakatu, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is a little larger than the common cockatoo, its 
size being almost equal to that of the red and blue maccaw. 
Its beak is bluish black, the membrane black, the circle of the 
eyes pearl grey, and the iris deep red. The feet are lead 
colour, the nails black. White, tinged with pale rose-red, is 
the prevailing colour ; the tuft, which falls back on the head, 
is very large, most of the feathers being six inches in length ; 
of which the under side is of a beautiful orange. In the side 
tail feathers, from the base to the centre of the ulterior beard, 
the colour is primrose-yellow ; the under part of the pen- 
feathers has a tint of the same. 

OBSERVATIONS. This beautiful bird has a noble air ; and, though often 
tamed, it is rarely so caressing as the common cockatoo ; its cry, like that 
of the other species, is its own name; it also cries " tertmgue " very 
loud, and like a trumpet, and imitates the voice of several animals, parti- 
cularly the cackling of fowls and the crowing of cocks. When it cries it 
flaps its wings. 

Though a native of the Moluccas, it is neither delicate nor difficult to 



Psittacus Philippinarum, LINNJECS ; Le petit Kakatoes des Philippines, BUFFON ; 
Der rothbauchige Kakatu, BECHSTBIN. 

THIS species, the size of the grey parrot, is but thirteen 
inches in length. The beak is white, or of a pale flesh colour, 
and grey at the base ; the circle of the eyes is yellowish-red ; 
the feet are of a silver-grey ; the general colour of the body is 
white ; the head is ornamented with a tuft, in which there is 
nothing remarkable but its raising it in the form of a shell. 

OBSERVATIONS. It is a native of the Philippines. Its beauty and great 
docility are its chief merits ; for it cannot speak, and it also appears of a 
jealous nature, being angry when it sees the other parrots caressed, and 
making the unpleasant cry of " aiai, miai ! " but never " cockatoo. *' 


Psittacus Banksii, LINNAEUS ; Le Kakatoes Noir, BUFPON ; Der Banksche Kakatu, 

THIS certainly is the handsomest, rarest, and most precious 
of all the cockatoos. It is as large as the red and blue maccaw, 
its length being from twenty-two to thirty inches. The beak 
is thick, yellowish, and black at the point ; the iris red, and 
the feet black. Black is the prevailing colour of its plumage ; 
the tuft is rather long, but in a state of tranquillity lies flat on 
the head, as in the preceding cockatoo ; each feather has a 
yellowish spot exactly on the tip ; the wing-coverts are also 
terminated with a similar spot. 

VARIETIES. Of this beautiful species there are several 

1. Those with the beak lead-coloured; the tuft of a mo- 
derate size, black mixed with the yellow feathers ; the throat 
yellow ; the sides of the neck spotted with yellow and black ; 
the tail as above ; all the rest black, without any streaks on 
the under part of the body. 

2. Those with the beak bluish grey, plumage olive, or black, 
with a yellowish tint on the sides of the head, but having no 


feather with a yellow tip. The belly of one colour, without 
streaks ; tail as above. This may possibly be a young one. 

3. Those with the beak raven-grey; the head, the neck, 
and the under part of the body of a dark dirty brown colour. 
The feathers on the top of the head and nape of the neck are 
bordered with olive : the upper part of the body, the wings 
and tail, of a brilliant black ; the centre feathers of the latter 
are of one colour ; the others scarlet in the middle, but without 
streaks. This is perhaps a female. 

OBSERVATIONS. This noble and handsome bird is still rather rare in 
England, and still more so in Germany. It may be found in many parts 
of New Holland ; its motions resemble those of the common cockatoo, 
and the manner of treating it is the same. 


Psittacus erithacus, LINN^US ; Le Perroquet eendr<, ou le Jaco, BUFFON ; Dcr 
Gemeiner aschgrauer Papagay, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS parrot and the following are the most common and 
docile that we possess. Its length is nine inches. The beak 
is black, the membrane at its base, and the circle of the eyes 
have a powdered appearance. The feet are ash-coloured, the 
iris yellowish. A fine pearl grey and slate-colour tinges the 
whole body; the feathers of the head, neck, and belly are 
edged with whitish grey ; the tail, which is short, and of a 
vermilion colour, terminates and relieves this shining and 
watered plumage, which also has a powdered appearance. The 
male and female are alike, and learn with equal facility. Most 
of the birds of this species are brought from Guinea, but they 
also inhabit the interior parts of Africa, as well as Congo and 
the coasts of Angola. 

FOOD. In its native country it lives on all kinds of fruit and grain ; it 
will also become quite fat on the seed of the safflower, which to man is so 
violent a purgative. Here it eats any of our food ; but white bread soaked 
in boiled milk, and fruits, are what it likes best. Meat, of which it is very 
fond, brings on diarrhoea, as in other parrots, and that kind of green sick- 
ness which makes it peck itself and tear out its feathers, &c. 

There are some instances, when treated with care, of their having lived 
for sixty years. 


BREEDING. In its native country this species builds in high trees. This 
is the first of this group of birds which has bred in Europe. " M. de la 
Pigeonnire," says Buffon, "had a male and female parrot in the city of 
Marmanote, in Angenois, which used to breed regularly every spring for five 
or six years ; the young ones of each brood were always reared by the parent 
birds. The female laid four eggs each time, three of which were fruitful, 
and the other not so. In order that they may breed at their ease, they 
must be placed in a room in which there is nothing but a barrel, open at 
one end, and partly filled with saw-dust ; sticks must be placed inside and 
out of the barrel, that the male may ascend them whenever he likes, and 
remain near his companion. Before entering this room the precaution 
must be taken to put on boots, that the legs may be guarded from the 
attacks of the jealous parrot, which pecks at everything which approaches 
its female." The P. Labat also gives an account of two parrots which had 
" several broods in Paris." 

DISEASES. This parrot becomes more subject to the different diseases in 
proportion as it is fed on choice food. Gout in the feet is the most general, 
and the specifics used for the bird are not more certain in their cure than 
those used for man. It is not difficult to prevent this evil by great cleanli- 
ness, and giving it no meat or other niceties. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. This parrot, like the following, learns not only 
to speak and whistle, but also to make all kinds of gestures ; and it even 
performs some tricks which require skill. It is particularly distinguished 
by its pleasing and caressing behaviour to its master. As an example of 
the talents of this species, Buffon gives an account of one which, " being 
instructed on its voyage by an old sailor, had acquired his harsh, hoarse 
voice so perfectly that it was often mistaken for him. Though it was 
afterwards given to a young person, and no longer heard the voice, it never 
forgot the lessons of its old master ; and it was exceedingly amusing to 
hear it pass from a soft pleasing voice to its old hoarse sea tone. This bird 
not only has a great facility in imitating the voice of man, but it also seems 
to have a wish to do so, and this wish is shown in its great attention, the 
efforts which it makes to repeat the sounds it hears, and its constant repe- 
tition of them, for it incessantly repeats any words which it has just learnt, 
and endeavours to make its voice heard above every other. One is often 
surprised to hear it say words and make sounds, which no one had taught 
it, and to which it was not even suspected to have listened. It seemed to 
practise its lesson every day till night, beginning again on the next morn- 
ing. It is while young that it shows this great facility in learning ; its 
memory is then better, and the bird is altogether more intelligent and 
docile. This memory is sometimes very astonishing, as in a parrot which, 
as Rodiginus tells, a cardinal bought for one hundred crowns of gold, because 
it could repeat correctly the Apostles' Creed ; and M. de la Borde tells us of 
another which served as chaplain to the vessel, reciting the prayer to the 
sailors, and afterwards repeating the rosary." 



Psittacus garrulus, LINN^US ; Le Lori Noir varie'te' dite de Ceram, BUFFON ; Der 
geschwatzige Lory, BECH STEIN. 

IT is of the size of a pigeon, its length being from ten to 
eleven inches. The colours vary very much ; but the following 
are the most common. Beak orange-coloured, naked membrane 
at its base, and the circle of the eyes grey ; the iris deep yellow, 
and feet brown. The predominating colour of the body is 
bright red ; but the small wing-coverts are a mixture of green 
and yellow. 

It comes from the Moluccas, and is treated like the preced- 
ing, which it equals in docility. 


Psittacus domicella, LINNAEUS ; Le Lory demoiselle, ou a collier, BUFFON ; Der 
blaukopfige Lory, BECUSTEIN. 

THIS magnificent species is of the size of a pigeon, and ten 
inches and a half in length. The beak is orange, the membrane 
blackish, as well as the circle of the eyes. The top of the head 
is purple black, or rather black shading to purple, on the nape 
of the neck ; a crescent o'f light yellow, more or less visible, 
ornaments the under part of the throat. The outer, edge of the 
quill-feathers, and the small wing-coverts, are of a deep blue, 
shading to sky blue ; the others of a meadow green. The tail 
is slightly wedge-shaped, and of a bluish purple, tinged with 
red brown. 

In the female, which is smaller, the crescent is either not 
visible or only faintly marked ; the blue on the head is very 
slight ; the border of the whig is a mixture of blue and green ; 
this is all the blue which there is in the wings. 

VARIETY. The lower part of the back and belly, the rump, and the 
thighs are white and rose colour ; the upper and under tail-coverts red and 
white ; the wing-coverts green, with a mixture of light yellow ; the beak 
light yellow ; the rest as usual. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species has the same attractions as the other lories, 
and to judge from the specimen which I have seen among the collection of 
the Duke of Meiningen, it appeared to be the mildest, most endearing, and 


amiable ; in short, the most docile and talkative of all the parrots. It cries 
lory, and chatters incessantly, but in a hollow voice, something like that 
of a man who speaks from his chest ; it repeats everything whistled to it in 
a clear tone ; it likes to be always caressed and paid attention to ; its 
memory is very good. 

This delicate species, being preserved with difficulty during the voyage, 
is also very rare and dear ; it is a native of the Moluccas and of New 
Guinea ; it requires to be taken great care of, to be kept warm; and to have 
its food changed when necessary. 


Psittacus Lory, LINNJEUS ; Lory des Philippines, BUFFON ; Der schwarzkappige 

THIS is about the size of the preceding. Its beak is orange ; 
the membrane and circle of the eyes of a dark flesh colour ; the 
iris orange. The feet are black ; the top of the head the same, 
with a blue tint ; the whole body is scarlet, except a blue spot 
between the back and neck, and another below the breast ; 
both of these spots have a few red feathers ; the wings are 
green above. 

OBSERVATIONS. The black-capped lory is still more scarce in Europe 
than the preceding, therefore it is dearer, but appears to possess all its good 


Psittacus leucocephalus, LINNAEUS ; Perroquet Amazone a tte blanche ; Der 
weisskOpfige Amazonenpapagey, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is one of the most talkative parrots usually kept. Its 
beak is whitish, the circle of the eyes white; the iris nut 
brown ; the feet are dark brown. The top, or rather the back 
of the head, is light blue in the male, and green in the female. 
The general colour is green, but the edge of the feathers is 
brown, particularly in the front part of the body. The red 
edge of the wing is the distinguishing characteristic of the male 
in Buffon's family of amazons. 

This parrot is found in St. Domingo, Cuba, and even in 
Mexico. It is very mild and talkative, and imitates the cries 
of cats, dogs, and other animals to perfection. 

It must be kept very clean, and not let suffer from cold. 



Psittacus autumnalis, LINNAEUS ; Le Crick a t6te bleue, BUFFON ; Der Herbst- 
krickpapagey, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is about the size of a pigeon. The beak is horn colour, 
with a long streak of orange on each side of the upper mandible ; 
the whole circle of the head and the throat are blue ; the top 
of the head and under part of the neck to the breast are red ; 
the rest of the body is green, except the large quill-feathers, 
which are blue ; some, however, are red, with a blue tip. 

i % 

Varieties. 1. The head, instead of being red and blue, is red 
and white. 

2. The forehead scarlet, the top of the head blue, an orange 
spot under the eyes, the upper border of the wings light yellow. 

3. Forehead and throat red behind, and under the eyes blue, 
the top of the head greenish yellow, the lower border of the 
wings red, the end of the tail pale light yallow. 

4. All the body blackish except the breast, the feathers of 
which are edged with dark brown and red. 

OBSERVATIONS These birds inhabit Guinea, learn very little, and con- 
tinually cry " guirr, guirr." 


Psittacus aestivus, LINN.EUS ; Der gemeine Amazonenpapagey, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is imported in so great numbers that it is found 
at every bird-seller's, and is one of the cheapest. Its varieties 
are numerous. The following are the general colours : beak 
blackish; feet ash-coloured; iris golden yellow; forehead 
bluish, as well as the space between the eyes ; head and throat 
yellow, but the throat-feathers are edged with a blue green ; 
the body a brilliant green, inclining to yellowish on the back 
and belly. 

This bird is common in the hottest parts of America, learns 
to speak, is very docile, sociable, and requires only common 



Psittacus nobilis, LINNJEUS ; Psittacus ochrocephalus, GMELIN ; Amazone a tfite 
jaune, BUFFON ; Der gelbkopfige Amazonenpapagey, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this species is fifteen inches, of which the tail 
measures five ; the beak one inch, the sides of the upper mandi- 
ble and base of the lower are red, the rest of the beak is raven 
grey ; the iris golden yellow ; the feet greyish flesh colour, and 
claws black. The top of the head is golden yellow, the forehead 
yellowish green ; the colour of the body is green, dark above, 
and more yellow under ; the tail is but slightly wedge-shaped ; 
but Linnaeus considered it sufficiently so to class it among the 
long wedge-shaped tails. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird is very mild, and sometimes chatters and 
utters a few dull sounds, but at other times it speaks but little. 

Its native country is South America : it is treated like the preceding. 


Ramphastos Tucanus, LINN.EUS ; Toucan a gorge jaune du Bre'sil, BUFFON ; Der 
Tukan oder Pfeffervogel, BECHSTEIN. 

TUCANS are distinguished by the great size of their beak, 
which is convex above, hooked towards the point, hollow, light, 
and toothed on the edges like a saw. The feet have two claws 
before and two behind. In summer these birds are brought 
from South America to England and Holland, whence they are 
taken to Germany, though not often. They eat fruit, berries, 
grapes, bread, meat, and in general any of our food. Tn order 
to swallow anything they throw it into the air, catching it in 
their throats. They are generally reared from the nest, 
which is placed in the hole of a tree, and only contains two 
young ones, which in a short time are domesticated, and become 
very attractive. 

Of the nine inches, which is the whole length of this tucan, 
the beak alone measures five, and is grey at the base and black 
at the point. The upper part of the body is of a green black ; 


the cheeks, throat, and front of the neck are orange, with a 
crimson band across the breast. The stomach is of a fine red, 
the belly and sides blackish, as well as the pen-feathers and 
tail. The upper tail-coverts are of a sulphur colour, the under 
ones are crimson : the feet and claws lead colour. 


Rhamphastos piscivorus, LINNJEDS ; Le Toucan a gorge blanche du Bre"sil, BCFKON ; 
Der Brasilishe Pfeffervogel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is twenty inches in length, of which the beak 
measures six ; the upper mandible is yellowish green, with the 
edges orange coloured and toothed ; the under mandible is of a 
fine blue, and the points of both are red. The iris is light 
brown ; the circle of the eyes greenish yellow ; the top of the 
head, the neck, back, belly, wings, and tail are black ; the 
throat, the breast, and sides yellowish white ; the part about 
the stomach is ornamented with a beautiful red crescent. 

It is a native of Cayenne and Brazil. 


Rhamphastos picatus, LINN^ECS ; Le Toucan a ventre rouge : Der Prediger 
Pfeffervogel, BECHSTEIN. 

THE whole length of the bird is twenty inches, of which the 
beak measures six ; the point is red, and all the rest is yellowish- 
green. The prevailing colour is a brilliant black, with tints of 
green before, and grey ash colour on the back part of the body. 
The breast is of a fine orange ; the belly, sides, thighs, lesser 
tail-coverts, and the tips of the feathers, are of a lively red. 
This Tucan inhabits Africa and Brazil ; its long and incessant 
cry has given it the name of Preacher. It is as easy to tame as 
to feed, for it will eat any thing. 



THE birds in this group in general have the beak rectan- 
gular, in a few instances very slightly hooked, never thick nor 
very long. 


Picus viridis, LINN.SUS ; Le Pic vert, BCFFON ; Der Griinspecht, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this bird is twelve inches and a half, but four 
and a half of these are included in the tail, almost half of which 
is covered by the folded wings. The beak, an inch and a half 
in length, is triangular, very pointed, and of a dark grey ; the 
iris is grey ; the tongue is five inches long, and furnished, like 
that of the other woodpeckers, with a horny tip, and strong 
hairs on each side, so as to be useful in catching and piercing 
insects. The top of the head to the nape of the neck is of a 
brilliant crimson ; a black streak, which in old birds is often 
tinged with red, descends on each side of the neck ; the upper 
part of the body is of a beautiful olive green, the under part of 
a dusky greenish white : some transverse lines may be seen on 
the belly, which become more distinct on the sides. 

In the female the colours are paler, and there is less red on 
the head, which, when it is young, is only grey. 

HABITATION. When \vild, the green woodpecker, during summer, 
frequents "woods and orchards which are near these, but when the air be- 


comes cold, and the snow begins to fall, it approaches villages, and flies 
from one garden to another; it passes the night in the holes of trees; 
when it finds dead, decayed, or worm-eaten ones, it pierces them on all 
sides with its strong heak, in order to find the insects they conceal. It 
never attacks a healthy tree, therefore it is not right to kill it as being 
mischievous ; it only taps the bark of trees to make the insects come out, 
and its strokes are then so quick that they resemble a humming. 

In the house its fierce and impetuous character makes it necessary to 
keep it in close confinement. 

FOOD. In its wild state it constantly seeks the insects which live under 
the bark and in the wood of trees ; it also eats ants, and in winter will even 
take bees from the hive. 

In the house it is fed on nuts, ants' eggs, and meat. 

BREEDING. The female lays three or four perfectly white eggs in the 
hole of a tree : if the young are to be tamed they must be taken from the 
nest when only half fledged ; it is impossible to tame adults or old ones ; 
we cannot even make them eat. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The beauty of its plumage is all that can be 
said of it; for it is so fierce, quick, and stubborn, that it can only be kept 
by means of a chain. I know no instance in which every kind of atten- 
tion has rendered it more docile and agreeable : it is always untractablc. 
One or two of these chained birds, however, do not look bad as a variety. 
It is curious to see them crack the nuts. 


Picus major, LINNJHCS ; L'Epeiche, ou Pic varie, BUFFON ; Der Grosser 
Buntspecht, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is rather larger than a thrush, nine inches long, 
of which the tail measures three and a half, and the beak one. 
The legs are three lines high, and of a bluish olive ; the iris is 
bluish, with a white ring ; the forehead yellowish brown ; the 
top of the head and the back black ; the nape of the neck 
crimson; the shoulders white, the wings and tail black, and 
streaked with yellowish white ; the belly of a dirty reddish 
white, the part about the vent crimson. 

The female has no red on the nape of the neck. 

HABITATION AND FOOD. This woodpecker continually ranges woods and 
orchards in search of its food, which consists of insects, beech-mast, acorns, 
nuts, and the seed of pines and firs. In order to crack the nuts, it fixes 
them in the clefts of the trees. The female builds its nest in the hole of a 
tree, and lays from four to six white eggs. Before moulting the head of 
the young ones is red. They must be taken early from the nest if they are 
to be tamed. They ara fed and treated like the green woodpecker. 



Picus medius, LINN.EUS ; Le Pic vane" a tete rouge, BUFFON ; Der Mittlerer 
Buntspecht, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is only distinguished from the former by being rather 
smaller : the beak is more slender, and very pointed. The 
top of the head is crimson, and the :egion of the vent rose- 
coloured. It is, besides, less common, and the young which 
are reared are not so untractable, though never very docile *. 
They are generally kept in a cage, and fastened by a little 


Picus minor, LINN^US ; Le Petit Epeiche, BUFFON ; Der Kleiner Buntspecht, 

THIS bird is the size of a lark, five inches and a half in 
length, two of which are included in the tail, and the beak 
measures seven lines. The feet are of a greenish black ; the 
rump is white ; the top of the head crimson ; the nape of the 
neck black ; the back white, with transverse streaks of black ; 
the under part of the body is of a reddish white grey, and the 
sides are streaked with black. 

The female had no red on the head. 

HABITATION AND FOOD. This rare species inhabits forests of beech and 
oak, skilfully catching the insects under the bark and moss of these trees ; 
it even flies to the ground to seek the same food among the grass. While 
rearing the young ones, they must be kept in a cage. 

* I have, however, seen a woodpecker of this species which was reared by a lady, 
to whom it seemed very much attached. It had learnt of itself to go and return, 
knocking hard at the window if it was shut out. It was very amusing to see it 
climbing nimbly over its mistress till it had reached her mouth ; it then asked her 
by light strokes of its beak for the food which she was accustomed to give it ; this 
was generally a little meat. It disappeared one day, without any one's knowing 
,vhat accident had befallen it. TRANSLATOR. 


Yunx torquilla, LINNJEUS ; Le Torcol, BDFFON; Der Geraeiner Wendehals, 

THOUGH it is six inches and a half in length, it is not larger 
than our lark, because its tail includes three inches and a 
quarter, and its beak nine lines. The iris is of a brownish 
yellow, the feet, two claws of which are before and two behind, 
are short, strong, and lead colour. The head is ash- coloured, 
speckled with small rust-coloured spots mixed with some white 
ones. The top of the head and half of the back are divided 
lengthwise by a broad black streak, edged with rust colour ; 
the rest of the upper part of the body is of a fine grey, streaked 
and speckled with black, white, and rust colour. In the female 
the belly is paler than in the male. 

HABITATION. When wild, it is a bird of passage, which departs during 
the first fortnight of September, and does not return till the end of April, 
frequenting groves and orchards. In August it goes into gardens and fields 
planted with cabbages and other vegetables. 

In the house it is better to let it run about at will than to keep it in a 
cage, where it would soil its feathers, particularly those on the belly and 
breast, while playing. 

FOOD. In its wild state, the wryneck lives on insects, for catching which 
it has a very long cylindrical tongue, with a hard point, that can be insi- 
nuated into all the chinks and fissures of trees. Ants' eggs are a very 
favourite food, and it does not dislike the ants themselves. Towards 
autumn, when the latter fail, it is contented with elder-berries till the time 
of its departure which never varies. 

In the house it must be first given ants' eggs ; and then by degrees the 
universal paste, to which it soon becomes accustomed ; but, as it is deli- 
cate, in order to preserve it for some time, the nightingales' food agrees 
better with it. It is very amusing to sse it search all the cracks and 
crevices of the room for insects : and if a few ants' eggs were now and then 
put there, it would give it the greatest pleasure. 



BREEDING. Its nest, which it places in the hole of a tree, is formed of 
moss, wool, hair, and straw. It lays eight eggs, which are white, and very 
smooth. The adults and old ones are difficult to preserve and tame ; hut 
the young ones may he easily reared on ants' eggs, and the universal paste, 
made of the crumb of white hread. 

MODE OF TAKING. In general it is caught hy putting lime twigs round 
the nest ; but if the weather he stormy, as in spring, when it is busy 
searching the bushes for insects, it may even be taken by the hand. The 
one I now have was brought to me by a little boy who had taken it in this 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Independently of its beautiful plumage, it is 
very amusing to see it make those movements which have given it its name 
of wryneck. It lengthens its neck, and turns round its head, so that the 
beak points down the back. Its general position is quite straight ; the 
feathers of the head and throat very smooth, and the tail spread like a fan, 
at the same time bowing low. If it be irritated, or even if its food be 
brought, it slowly leans forward, raising the feathers on its head, lengthen- 
ing and turning its neck, rolling its eyes ; it then bows, spreads its tail, and 
murmurs some harsh sounds in its throat ; in short, it puts itself in the 
most singular attitudes, and makes the most ridiculous grimaces. At other 
times it seems to have a melancholy disposition. In spring the male often 
cries in a full tone, gui, gui, gui, gui, to call its female. 

M. de Schauroth informs me that two wrynecks which he reared became 
so tame, that they would hang about his clothes, and begin to warble as 
soon as they heard him, or saw him even at a distance. One day, being 
wearied and teazed with its incessant cries, he drove one out of the window; 
but having called it towards evening, it immediately replied to his voice, and 
permitted itself to be taken. One of these birds, which he let range about 
at will, having perched on a neighbouring tree, he had only to hold out and 
show it the box containing its food, and it returned immediately. 


Cuculus Persa, LINNJJUS ; Le Tourako, BCFFON ; Der Turako, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS Bird, which is about the size of a magpie, has been placed 
among the cuckoos by Linnaeus, and those who have copied him, 
only because its cry is cowc, couc ; for in no other respect does 
it belong to this genus. Its beak is short and thick, and re- 
sembles that of the pigeon in shape ; the upper is bent over 
the lower, and of a reddish brown ; the nostrils are covered 
with feathers; the iris is nut-brown; the eyelids are edged 
with small red warts; the opening of the throat is wide, 
extending to the back of the ears ; the nails of an ash grey ; the 
head, throat, neck, top of the back, with the upper wing-coverts, 


the breast, upper part of the belly and sides, are covered 
with soft silky feathers, of a beautiful deep green ; the feathers 
on the top of the head gradually lengthen into a large tri- 
angular tuft, which the bird raises at will, and the tip of which 
is red. The green in the tuft is sometimes mixed with 

OBSERVATIONS. The Tourako, which I have seen, belonging to his 
Highness the Duke of Saxe Meiningen, is one of the most elegant, mildest, 
and tamest of all foreign birds which I know. Its cry is couc, couc, couc, 
at first repeated slowly and distinctly, afterwards more quickly, and then 
in a rapid and continued succession. Notwithstanding the form of its feet it 
does not climb' or hop, but runs as quickly as any partridge across the room, 
and often, pressing its wings against its body, makes several long leaps of 
ten feet. 

FOOD. The tongue is not perceptible on opening its beak, and it swallows 
every thing whole which is given it. It is fed on fruit and bread cut in 
small pieces ; it has been remarked that it has a crop. 

Buffon says, that one of these birds, which came from the Cape, ate rice ; 
but that which I have seen would not touch it ; on the contrary, it ate 
with avidity the stones of grapes, as well as bits of apple and orange; so 
that it may be concluded that fruit is its natural food. It is brought from 
Guinea, but may be found in other parts of Africa. 


Alcedo Ispida, LINN.EUS ; L' Alcyon, ou Martin Pecheur, BCFFON ; Der Eisvogel, 

THE length of this bird is seven inches, of which the short 
tail only measures one and a quarter, the legs are very short, 
being only four lines in height, and the outer claw is united to 
the centre one, as far as the first joint. The beak, an inch and 
a half in length, is strong, straight and pointed. The iris is 
dark brown ; the top of the head and the wing-coverts are of a 
deep green ; the one with transverse and the other with oval 
spots of a beautiful sky blue. The back and shoulders ehine 
with the most beautiful blue. In the female the colours are 
darker, and the sky blue there is hi them only meadow green. 

HABITATION. When wild this is a solitary bird, which remains the 
whole year on the edges of ponds, streams, and rivers. During the winter 
it may be seen watching for its prey at the holes in the ice, placed on a stone 
or stick, or perched on the branch of a tree. 


In the house it does not walk or hop, but flies or remains perched. It 
is very necessary to put some turf or branches in a corner, or it must be 
kept in a cage with a perch ; it constantly remains in the same place. 

FOOD. In its wild state its food is small fish, leeches, and, indeed, all 
aquatic worms and insects. In the house it must he given as much as 
possible the same, accustoming it by degrees to eat meat. It is very 
rarely that those taken when old can he preserved. I have seen one, 
however, which ate even dead fish. The meat and small fish for its food 
must be put into a bowl of fresh water, large enough, or so firmly fixed, 
that it may not be easily overturned. When taking its food it does not 
hop to the bottom of the cage, but stretches itself downwards till it can 
reach the water with its beak, at least if it be not a young one reared in the 
house. It will not eat while being looked at. 

Ma. PAXTON'S METHOD OF MANAGEMENT. " Having become possessed," 
says Mr. Paxton, " of some young kingfishers last summer, we were very 
anxious to rear them; this we have accomplished, and, to the best of our 
information, it is the first time kingfishers were ever reared by hand. To 
accomplish this object we had a wire cage constructed about ten feet long, 
and four broad ; the back part of the cage was made to imitate, as nearly 
as possible, the banks of a river; through this cage a small stream of 
water was conducted, in which the birds received their food, &c. When 
the young birds were first taken from the nest, minnows and bullheads were 
their principal food ; they have since been fed on almost every species of 
fresh-water fish, although they evince a marked preference for trout. 

" Immediately on a quantity of small fish being put into the stream of 
water, they commence killing them, regardless of who may be near; and 
so surely do they strike, that, although we have repeatedly observed them, 
we never yet saw them miss their prey. As soon as they have caught a 
fish they kill it, by knocking its head against anything that may be near 
them. The quantity of fish consumed by each bird is almost incredible 
we should think on the average not less than six ounces a day each ; 
they could not exist twenty-four hours without food, so they quickly digest 
it. There can be no doubt that the sole reason of the kingfisher migrating 
to the sea-side on the approach of severe weather, arises from the voracity 
of its appetite. 

" They are quite tame and domesticated, frequently sitting on the head 
or shoulder of the person who is in the habit of cleaning out their little 
dwelling. They are also very cleanly. We have observed them dive into 
the water as many as forty times incessantly, for the purpose of washing 
this is generally done in the evening. 

" Although they appear satisfied with their confinement, they are far from 
being friendly with each other ; they fight with their wings, something after the 
manner of the swan ; this is rather surprising, as they are very dexterous 
with their bills when seizing their prey. 

. " We have tried to rear others in a common cage, feeding them partly on 
flesh, but never succeeded." 

BREEDING A hole at the edge of the water is the place in which it builds 

its nest, which is formed on the outside of small roots, and lined with 


feathers. Tts eggs in general are eight in number, and quite white. In the 
young ones, before the feathers grow, the stubs are so long and straight that 
they might be taken for so many little bristles. As soon as the young can 
see clearly, and before the feathers begin to sprout, is the time to take them 
from the nest ; they must be fed first on ants' eggs, meal worms, and other 
worms and afterwards accustomed by degrees to meat ; they will be preserved 
in good health for a much longer time, if care be taken always to give 
them their food in fresh water, rather than let them pick it up from the 

MODE OF TAKING. When the place which one of these birds frequents 
most, and which is generally near an eddy in the water, is well known, 
a stake must be fixed to which the snare, called a springe, can be fastened ; 
by this means the bird may be easily taken. Lime-twigs may also be put 
on a bush or stake near the water's edge, provided it does not hang so 
much over the water as to risk the bird's falling into it when fixed by the 

ATTRACTIVE QUAUTIES Its great attractions are its beauty, for it is not 
well proportioned, and all its motions are sudden. 


Sitta Europaea, LINNAEUS ; La Sittele, ou le Torchepot, BUFFON ; Der Nusshacker, 

THE length of this bird is six inches and a half, of which 
one and a half is included in the tail, and three-quarters in the 
beak, which is strong, straight, a little flat at the tip ; the eyes 
are greyish brown; the feet yellowish grey, the claws very 
strong. The forehead is blue only in the male ; the rest of the 
upper part of the body is of a blue grey ; the cheeks and throat 
are white ; a black streak passing across the eyes extends from 
the base of the beak to the neck ; the belly and breast are of a 
dingy orange colour. 

HABITATION. When wild it generally frequents woods. In the winter 
it approaches villages, and will even fly into barns and stables. 


In the house it must be kept in a cage made entirely of wire, as wood 
cannot resist the strength of its beak *. 

FOOD. In its wild state it lives on insects, which it seeks for in the 
trees, being able to cling to and run about the branches in any way : it 
also eats nuts and beech mast, which it skilfully fixes in the chinks of the 
trees, that it may crack them more easily. 

In the house, it may be fed on hemp seed, oats, barley meal, or even 
bread. The way in which it crushes the hemp seed and oats is very 
curious ; it takes as many as it can in its beak, and ranges them in order 
in the cracks of the floor, always taking care to put the large end lowest, 
that it may break them more easily ; it then begins to despatch them one 
after another with the greatest skill and agility. 

The lady who has been occasionally mentioned in the introduction, 
amused herself in the winter, and particularly when the snow was on the 
ground, with throwing, several times a day, different kinds of seeds on the 
terrace below the window, in order to feed the birds in the neighbourhood. 
These soon became accustomed to this distribution, and arrived in crowds 
when they heard the clapping of hands, which was the signal used to call 
them. She put some hemp seed and cracked nuts even on the window- 
sill, and on a board, particularly for her favourites, the blue tits. Two 
nuthatches came one day to have their snare in this repast, and were so 
well pleased that they became quite familiar, and did not even go away in 
the following spring, to get their natural food and to build their nest in 
the wood. They settled themselves in the hollow of an old tree near the 
houge ; as soon as the two young ones, which they reared here, were able 
to fly, they brought them to the hospitable window where they were to be 
nourished, and soon after disappeared entirely. It was very amusing to see 
these two new visiters hang or climb on the wall or blinds, whilst their 
benefactress put their food on the board. These pretty creatures, as well 
as the tits, knew her so well, that when she drove away the sparrows which 

* A bird of this species, which had been accidentally winged by a sportsman, 
was kept in a small cage of plain oak wood and wire. During a night and a day 
that his confinement lasted, his tapping labour was incessant ; and after occupying 
his prison for that short space, he left the wood-work pierced and worn like worm- 
eaten timber. His impatience at his situation was excessive ; his efforts to escape 
were unremitted, and displayed much intelligence and cunning. He was fierce, 
fearlessly familiar, and voracious of the food placed before him. At the close of 
the second day he sunk under the combined effects of his vexation, assiduity, and 
voracity. His hammering was peculiarly laborious, for he did not peck as other 
birds do, but grasping hold with his immense feet, he turned upon them as a pivot, 
and struck with the whole weight of his body, thus assuming the appearance, with 
his entire form, of the head of a hammer, or, as birds may sometimes be seen to 
do on mechanical clocks, made to strike the hour by swinging on a wheel. The 
Rev. W. T. Bree, of Allesley, says, that having caught a nuthatch in the common 
brick trap used by boys, he was struck with the singular appearance of its bill, so 
unlike that of any bird he had ever seen. It was blunt at the end, and presented 
the appearance of having been truncated in an oblique direction, as if the natural 
beak had been cut off. He naturally inferred that it had been fairly ground down 
to about two-thirds of its original length, by the bird's pecking at the bricks, in its 
efforts to escape from the trap. TRANSLATOR. 


came to steal what was not intended for them, they did not fly away also, 
but seemed to know that what was done was only to protect and defend 

These nuthatches remained near the house for the whole summer, rarely 
wandering, till one fatal day, at the beginning of the sporting season, in 
autumn, they no sooner heard the report of a gun than they disappeared, 
and were never again seen. It is possible that fear alone had driven them 
so far that they could not find their way home again ; they did not know 
that there they would have been in greater safety. 

If these birds are left at liberty in the room, they are accustomed, like 
the tits, to hide the greater part of what is given to them, to keep it for 
another meal ; but their trick of piercing holes in the wood makes them 
inconvenient, and therefore it is better to keep them in a cage. 

BREEDING. The nuthatch builds its nest in the holes of old trees, and 
lays six or seven eggs spotted with reel 

MODE or TAKING. As it has the same taste for hemp seed and oats as 
the tits, it may often be caught in the same snare ; it may also be taken in 
the area or barn floor trap. Its call is M gru, dek, dek" 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES Its plumage, liveliness, agility, and great 
cunning in catching and hiding its food, are its most agreeable qualities. 




THE birds of this group have the beak conical and pointed, 
in general rather strong, with both the mandibles moveable, 
and fit for peeling and cleaning grain, Their feet are slender, 
and their claws divided. Some of them do not confine them- 
selves to grain, but also eat insects. Those which feed solely 
on seeds disgorge them into the crop of their young, the others 
simply put the food into their beaks. The greater part of 
them build their nests very skilfully. The females brood 
alone, or are very rarely assisted by the males in hatching. 

This group and the following are peculiarly the real cage 
birds ; those pretty and attractive little creatures which enliven 
our rooms with their songs. 

Those which feed only on seeds may be tamed at any age. 


Loxia curvirostra, LINN^B^ ; Le Beccroise, BUFFON ; Der Kreuzschuabel, 

THE length of this bird is nearly seven inches, of which the 
tail measures two and a quarter. The beak, which is one inch 
in length, and very thick, has its two mandibles curving in 
opposite directions, and crossing each other at the points, 
whence the name. It is no fixed rule for the upper mandible 
to cross to the right or left, but its direction appears to be ac- 
quired when young. The shanks, which are eight lines high, 
and the beak, are brown ; the iris is nut-coloured. 

The change of colour, which some assert this bird is subject 
to three times a year, simply occurs as follows : 

The young male, which is at first of a greyish brown, with 
a little yellow, becomes after moulting entirely red, darker on 
the upper part of the body than on the lower, the quill and tail 
feathers excepted, which are blackish. This generally happens 
in April or May. At the second moulting this red colour be- 
comes a greenish yellow, which is permanent; so that when 
red they may be known to be the young male birds, and when 
yellow the old ones. 

The females are in general grey, with a little green on the 
head, breast, and rump, or irregularly speckled with those two 

From observations which have been made with great care 
and exactness, and which any one can repeat who wishes, it 
appears proved that an old male bird never changes its colour. 
In order to be exact as to these facts, it is necessary to observe 
the bird from the time of its leaving the nest ; for, if one were 
to judge from those taken in a snare, one would certainly be 


disposed to think that not one hird resembled another : but all 
this variety depends on the different stages in moulting, which 
so very much affects the colours of the plumage. 

Thus, in old male birds the forehead, cheeks, and eyebrows 
are spotted with grey, greenish yellow, and white. Wherever 
green and yellow are prevalent, the dark grey shows through, 
and has the appearance of spots on those parts, particularly on 
the back, for the tips alone are green and yellow. 

The result of all this is, that, when grey or speckled crossbills 
are spoken of, they are the young ones ; when red, they have 
passed their first moulting ; when crimson, they are near their 
second ; and when spotted, red and yellow, they are two years 
old, and in full feather. To judge with exactness, these birds 
ought to be seen at the time of laying, but neither this nor the 
moulting has any fixed season; and this circumstance suffi- 
ciently explains the great variety and difference of colour which 
are found among this species. 

These details also show that the crossbill is subject to nearly 
the same changes of colour as the linnet, and that the red colour 
which it bears for the first year is what peculiarly distinguishes 
it from other birds. One thing, which is rather remarkable, 
is, that the young ones reared in the house never take the red 
colour, but remain grey for the second year, or change directly 
into greenish yellow. 

There are two kinds of crossbills,^the greater and lesser ; but 
the difference is not so great as some pretend, and nature is 
not more invariable in the size of birds than it is in that 
of men *. 

HABITATION. When wild, the crossbill not only inhabits Europe, but 
also all the north of Asia and America, everywhere frequenting forests of 
pines and firs, where these trees, which are loaded with cones, furnish abun- 
dance of food. 

In the house it may be let range at will, but a branch of fir, or any other 
tree, must be put near it, on which it can perch or sleep. If it be kept in 
a cage it must be made of wire ; for, being so much disposed to peck and 
nibble, a wicker cage would soon be reduced to chips. 

FOOD. In its wild state the pine seed is its favourite food ; the shape of 
its beak is peculiarly adapted for procuring these seeds, by separating the 
scales of the cones ; it also gathers from the ground those which have fallen, 
and it does not neglect those of the fir, and even of the alder. When these 

fail it is contented with the bads of the same trees. 

* The parrot crossbill is a very different species, but is rare. TRANSLATOR. 


In the house, if it be let run about at liberty, the second universal paste 
will be sufficient ; but if kept in a cage it must be fed on hemp, pine, and 
rape seed, and even elder-berries. 

BREEDING. The time of breeding is very remarkable, being generally in 
the depth of winter, from December to April. The nest, which is placed 
at the top of a pine or fir tree, is first formed of very fine small twigs, there 
is then a layer of coarse moss, but the interior is lined with the finest and 
softest moss ; it is not glued with resin, as some have said. The young 
crossbills being in Thuringia the object of many ridiculous superstitions, the 
wood-cutters are always careful of the nests. The number of the eggs 
varies from three to five, they are of a greyish white, spotted, speckled, and 
streaked at the large end with red brown. The heating nature of their 
food enables the young and old birds to bear the severity of the season. 
The old birds feed their young with the food disgorged from their own 
stomach, as do all the grosbeaks. This species may be reared in the house 
on white bread soaked in milk, and mixed with a few poppy-seeds. 

DISEASES. The accumulated vapour from a room with a stove has such 
an effect on the constitution of these birds, that they are almost always 
ill *. Weak eyes, swelled and ulcerated feet, are very common occurrences ; 
hence the mountaineers of Thuringia have taken it into their heads that 
these poor birds can take upon themselves their diseases and pains : and it 
is this foolish idea that induces them always to keep one of these birds near 
them. Their superstitious extravagance carries them so far, that they are 
persuaded a bird whose upper mandible bends to the right, has the power of 
assuming to itself the colds and rheumatism from men ; but when this 
mandible turns to the left, the bird renders the same service to the women. 
These simple and credulous people imagine that nothing is more efficacious 
against epilepsy, than every day to drink the water which the bird lias left, 
because they see that these unfortunate victims are often attacked with this 

MODE OF TAKING With the decoy birds nothing is easier than to take 
the crossbills in the autumn and spring : one large rod, covered with strong 
birdlime, is all that is necessary. It must be put in a glade in the wood 
which these birds frequent, with the decoy bird by the side ; this, by its 
continual cry, will soon attract them. In Thuringia the people put nooses 
and spring traps on the top of some of the highest pines, and there hang the 
cage of the decoy bird ; as soon as one crossbill has settled, the others fol- 
low ; so that as many birds are taken as there are traps set, particularly if 
the stick of the spring traps be placed so that the bird must perch on it, 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The crossbill is rather a silly bird ; in the cage 
its motions are like those of the parrot ; when lively it swings its body like 
the siskin, and sings a few sharp strains, which are more or less monotonous, 
according to the different powers of the songsters for some of the males 
far surpass the others in this short melody. It is easily tamed, can be 
carried about anywhere on the finger, and will go and return again without 

* The too great heat has doubtless also something to do with it. TRANSLATOR. 


Lozia pyrrhula, LINNAEUS ; Le Bouvreuil, BUFFON ; Der Gimpel, BECHSTKIN. 

THIS is one of the indigenous tame birds which is a favourite 
with the rich and noble. Its body is thick and short. Its 
whole length is six niches and three quarters, of which the tail 
measures two and three quarters ; the beak is only six lines in 
length, short, thick, and black ; the iris is chestnut-coloured ; 
the shanks eight lines high, and black ; the top of the head, the 
circle of the beak, the chin, and beginning of the throat, are of 
a beautiful velvet black ; the upper part of the neck, the back, 
and shoulders, deep grey ; the rump white ; the under part of 
the neck, the wide breast, and to the centre of the belly, are of 
a fine vermilion, less bright, however, in the young than old ; 
the blackish pen-feathers become darker towards the body ; the 
secondaries have the outer edge of an iron blue, which in the 
hinder ones is reddish. The tail is rather forked, and of a 
brilliant black, tinged with iron blue. 

The female is easily distinguished from the male, for what 
is red on him is reddish grey on her, while her back is of a 
brownish grey, and her feet are not so black ; she is also 

This species has some singular varieties ; the principal are : 

1. The White Bullfinch* which is of an ashy white, or wholly 
white, with dark spots on the back. 

2. The Black Bullfinch. These are most generally females, 
which become black, either with age, when they are only fed 
on hemp seed, or with having been kept when young in a 
totally dark place. Some resume at their moulting their 
natural colours ; others remain black ; but this black is not 
the same in all ; some are of a brilliant raven black, others 


dull, and not so dark on the belly ; in some the head only is 
of a raven black, the rest of the body being duller ; in others 
the black is mixed with red spots on the belly, or the latter is 
entirely red. I have seen one in which the head and breast, 
as well as the upper and under parts of the body, were of a raven 
black, every other part of a dull black, with the wings and tail 
white ; it was a very handsome bird, rather larger than a red- 

3. The Speckled Bullfinch. It is thus called, for, besides its 
natural colours, it is spotted with black and white, or white 
and ash colour. 

4. The Mongrel Bullfinch. It is the offspring of a female, 
reared in the house from the nest, and of a male canary. Its 
shape and colour partake of those of the parent birds ; its note 
is very agreeable, and softer than that of the canary ; but it is 
very scarce. This union rarely succeeds ; but when tried, a 
very ardent and spirited canary should be chosen *. 

5. The other varieties are : the Large Bullfinch, about the 
size of a thrush, and the Middling, or Common. As to dwarf 
birds, which are not as large as a chaffinch, it is a bird-catcher's 
story, for this difference in size is observed in all kinds of birds. 
I can affirm it with the more certainty, having had opportuni- 
ties every year of seeing hundreds of these birds, both wild and 
tame. I have even in the same nest found some as small as 
redbreasts, and others as large as a crossbill. 

HABITATION. When wild, bullfinches are found over Europe and 
Russia. They are particularly common in the mountainous forests of 
Germany. The male and female never separate during the whole year. 
In winter they wander about everywhere in search of buds. 

In the house those which are caught in a snare' are often let run about. 
These birds not being very unruly or very active, a middling- sized cage 
will do, in which those which have learned songs are kept ; but they must 
be kept in separate rooms, as they will mutually spoil their songs if left 

FOOD. When wild the bullfinch does not often suffer from the failure 
of its food ; for it eats pine and fir seeds, the fruit of the ash and maple, 

* However difficult this pairing may be, it sometimes succeeds very well. A 
bullfinch and female canary once produced five young ones, which died on a journey 
which they could not bear. Their large beak, and the blackish down with which 

they were covered, showed that they were more like their father than mother 



corn, all kinds of berries, the buds of the oak, beech, and pear trees, and 
even linseed, millet, rape, and nettle seed. 

In the house those which run about may be fed on the universal paste, 
and, for a change, rape seed may be added ; those which are taught must 
be fed only on poppy seed, with a little hemp seed, and now and then a 
little biscuit without spice. It has been remarked that those which are fed 
entirely on rape seed soaked in water live much longer, and are more 
healthy. The hemp seed is too heating, sooner or later blinds them, and 
always brings on a decline. A little green food, such as lettuce, endive, 
chickweed, water-cresses, a little apple, particularly the kernels, the berries 
of the service tree, and the like, is agreeable and salutary to them. 

BREEDING These tenderly affectionate birds can hardly live when 

separated from one another. They incessantly repeat their call with a 
languishing note, and continually caress. They can sometimes be made to 
breed in the house, like the canary, but their eggs are rarely fruitful. In 
the wild state they breed twice every year, each time laying from three to 
six eggs, of a bluish white, spotted with violet and brown at the large end. 
Their nest, which they build in the most retired part of a wood, or in a 
solitary quickset hedge, is constructed with little skill, of twigs which are 
covered with moss. The young ones are hatched in fifteen days. Those 
which are to be taught must be taken from the nest when the feathers of 
the tail begin to grow ; and must be fed only on rape seed soaked in water 
and mixed with white bread ; eggs would kill them or make them blind. 
Their plumage is then of a dark ash-colour, with the wings and tail blackish 
brown ; the males may be known at first by their reddish breast ; so that 
when these only are wished to be reared they may be chosen in the nest, 
for the females are not so beautiful, nor so easily taught. 

Although they do not warble before they can feed themselves, one need 
not wait for this to begin their instruction*, for it will succeed better, if one 
may say so, when infused with their food ; since experience proves that 
they learn those airs more quickly, and remember them better, which they 
have been taught just after eating. It has been observed several times, 
that these birds, like the parrots, are never more attentive than during 
digestion. Nine months of regular and continued instruction are necessary 
before the bird acquires what amateurs call firmness, for if one ceases before 
this time, they spoil the air, by suppressing or displacing the different parts, 
and they often forget it entirely at their first moulting. In general it is a 
good thing to separate them from the other birds, even after they are per- 
fect ; because, owing to their great quickness in learning, they would spoil 
the air entirely by introducing wrong passages ; they must be helped to 
continue the song when they stop, and the lesson must always be repeated 
whilst they are moulting, otherwise they will become mere chatterers, 

* I do not recommend the employment of bird organs for instructing birds, because 
they are rarely accurate, and their notes are harsh and discordant ; for bullfinches 
repeat the sounds exactly as they hear them, whether harsh or false, according to 
the instrument used. The good and pure whistling of a man of taste is far pre- 
ferable ; the bird repeats it iu a soft, flute-like tone. When one cannot whistle 
well it is better to use a flageolet TRANSLATOR. 


which would be doubly vexatious after having had much trouble iu teach- 
ing them. 

DISEASES. Those bullfinches which are caught in a snare or net arc 
rarely ill, and may be preserved for eight years or more ; but those reared 
from the nest are subject to many diseases, caused by their not having 
their natural food, or by those injurious delicacies which are always lavished 
on favourite birds; they rarely live more than six years. The surest 
means of preserving them healthy for a long time, is to give them neither 
sweets nor tit-bits of any kind, scrupulously to confine their food to rape 
seed, adding now and then a very little hemp seed to please them, and a good 
deal of the green food before mentioned. The bottom of their cages should 
be cove-red with river sand, as the bird there finds some stones which aid 
the functions of the stomach. Their most frequent diseases are moulting, 
costiveness, diarrhoea, epilepsy, grief, and melancholy, in which case they 
are quite silent, and remain immoveable, unless the cause can be discovered. 
They must not be given any delicacy, and must be fed entirely on soaked 
rape seed. A clove in their water, proper food, and particularly a good deal 
of refreshing green food, enables them to pass the moulting time in good 

MODE OF TAKING. There are few birds so easily attracted by the decoy 
bird as bullfinches. They may also be taken by any of the usual means. 
In winter numbers may be caught by a noose, by hanging to it such berries 
as the bird likes ; in spring and autumn they may be caught in the area or 
barn floor trap ; and provided they see berries there, the decoy bird is not 
wanted; it is sufficient if one imitates their soft cry of " tui, tui," in 
the hut. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Although the song of the male and female 
bullfinch, in their wild state, is very harsh and disagreeable, yet if well 
taught while young, as they are in Hesse and Fulda, where there are schools 
of these little musicians, for all Germany, Holland, and England, they 
learn to whistle all kinds of airs and melodies with so soft and flute-like a 
tone, that they are great favourites with amateurs, and particularly with the 
ladies. There are some of these little birds which can whistle distinctly 
three different airs, without spoiling or confusing them in the least. Added 
to this attraction the bullfinch becomes exceedingly tame, sings whenever 
it is told to do so, and is susceptible of a most tender and lasting attach- 
ment, which it shows by its endearing actions ; it balances its body, moves 
its tail from right to left, and spreads it like a fan. It will even repeat 
words, with an accent and tone which indicates sensibility, if one could 
believe that it understood them ; but its memory must not be overloaded. 
A single air, with a prelude or a short flourish to begin with, is as much as 
the bird can learn and remember, and this it will execute to the greatest 
perfection. These little prodigies would be more interesting and agreeable, 
if their Hessian instructors possessed a little musical taste, but these are 
generally tradespeople, employed about the house with their different 
occupations and trades ; and hymns, airs, and minuets of a hundred years 
old, public house songs, or some learnt of their apprentices, in general com- 
pose the whole of their music. 


The bullfinch can also imitate the songs of other birds ; but in general it 
is not permitted to do so, that it may only learn to repeat the airs which 
are taught it. 

Different degrees of capacity are shown here, as well as in other animals. 
One young bullfinch learns with ease and quickness, another with diffi- 
culty and slowly ; the former will repeat, without hesitation, several parts 
of a song ; the latter will be hardly able to whistle one, after nine months' 
uninterrupted teaching. But it has been remarked that those birds which 
learn with most difficulty remember the songs, which have once been well 
learnt, better and longer, and rarely forget them, even when moulting. 
Mr. Thiem*, bird-seller, at Waltershauseu, near Gotha, sends annually 
to Berlin and London one or two hundred bullfinches, instructed in this 
manner, at from one to several pounds sterling a* piece, according as they 
are more or less accomplished, whilst a wild one would cost only two or 
three pence. These, however, are also kept in the room and prized, both 
on account of their beauty and the great ease with which they are tamed ; 
they soon learn to fly on the hand, to receive their food, or will even take 
it from the mouth, and become at last as familiar as if they had been 
reared from the nest. The following are the means which are employed 
to tame them : As soon as a bullfinch is caught and brought into the room, 
it must be put into a cage with food sufficient for the first day only ; for 
the loss of its liberty does not prevent its eating as soon as it is disengaged 
from the lime twigs or noose. The next day a band must be put round 
the body and wings, like that which bird-catchers put round a decoy bird, 
which they let run about out of doors ; by means of this band the bullfinch 
may be fastened by a piece of packthread, a foot in length, to some place 
from which it cannot fall ; this will prevent its beating itself to death with its 
wings ; a little bell may be fastened to a box, which when filled with food must 
be given to the bird, at the same time ringing the bell ; it must be then left 
that it may eat ; this must be repeated several times in the day ; the same 
must be done when it is given anything to drink. The poor little captive 
will not at first either eat or drink in any one's presence ; it is therefore 
necessary to retire for the two first days after having given it the box, and 
only approach it by degrees, till it is accustomed to eat in the pre- 
sence of its master, which it will soon be, for generally on the third day, 
as soon as it hears the bell and sees the box, it hops forward, and eats 
without the least shyness. Then the distance must be increased by degrees 
to make it come farther and farther, when, as soon as it has eaten, it may 
be taken on the hand and carried here and there, though it may seem a 
little frightened, but not being able to escape it will soon become used to 
this treatment, and will even begin to come to eat on the hand by con- 
tinuing to do this for the third and fourth days ; it will fly of itself at the 
sound of the bell to the hand which holds the box ; after this the fastening 
may be loosened, and if one only move from the bird gradually, it will 
fearlessly approach and perch on the hand. Should it escape, however, 
it must be again confined and left without food for some hours. By this 

* Mr. Thiem, son of the Mr. Thiem in the text, arrives annually in London in 
April or May, with birds for sale. TRANSLATOR. 


means a wild bullfinch will in eight days become accustomed to fly im- 
mediately to the hand, or wherever it hears the bell ; in order to finish its 
education, it is well to increase the difficulty of getting at its food, by 
putting it in a small bag with a very little opening ; it must also only 
have rape seed in the cage, keeping the hemp seed, which it likes best, for 
the hand or little bag. It may be taught to drink out of one's mouth 
by keeping it Avithout water for five or six hours. It may even be accus- 
tomed to go and return, provided the house is not too near a wood. The surest 
means of preventing too long an absence is to put a female bullfinch in a 
cage in the window, or to leave her in the room with her wing clipped ; its 
affection will soon bring it back to her, and it will certainly never 
abandon her altogether . 

Tame bullfinches have been known (says Buflfon) to escape from the 
aviary, and live at liberty in the woods for a whole year, and then to 
recollect the voice of the pes^on who had reared them, return to her, never 
more to leave her. Others have been known, which when forced to leave 
their first master, have died of grief. These birds remember very well, 
and often too well, any one who has injured them. One of them having 
been thrown down, with its cage, by some of the lowest order of people, did 
not seem at first much disturbed by it, but afterwards it would fall into con- 
vulsions as soon as it saw any shabbily dressed person, and it died in one of 
these fits eight months after the first accident. 

A bullfinch, belonging to a lady often mentioned before, being subject to 
very frightful dreams, which made it fall from its perch, and beat itself in 
the cage, no sooner heard the affectionate voice of its mistress than, notwith- 
standing the darkness of the night, it became immediately tranquil, and 
re-ascended its perch to sleep again. It was very fond of duckweed, and as 
soon as it perceived one bringing it to him, however much care was taken 
to prevent its finding it easily, it would show its joy by its actions and 


Loxia chloris, LINNJEUS ; Le Verdier, BUFFON ; Der Gronling, BECHSTEiN. 

THIS bird is rather larger than the chaffinch, being six inches 
in length, of which the tail measures two and a half ; the beak 
five lines in length. The iris is dark brown ; the shanks are 
eight inches in height, and of a bluish flesh colour. The pre- 
vailing colour of the plumage is yellowish green, lighter on the 
lower part of the body, still more so on the rump and breast, and 
shading to white on the belly. 

The female, which is smaller, is still more distinguished by 
the greenish brown of the upper part, and the ash -colour rather 
than yellowish green of the lower part of the body ; she has 


besides some yellow spots on the breast, and the whcle belly ia 
rather white than yellow. 

Sportsmen and bird-catchers mention three kinds of green 
birds, namely, the large, which is everywhere or a beautiful 
yellow ; the middle sized, the under part of the bt/dy of which 
is light yellow ; and the little, which they say is rather greenish 
than yellow ; but all this variety depends upon the different 
ages of the bird, as well as its strength, and more or less beau- 
tiful tints of its plumage. What much more deserves to be 
remarked is the mule, which is the offspring of a green bird, 
and a female canary ; it has a strong body ; its colours are green 
and grey, mixed with yellow, when the female canary is yellow ; 
but it is always a bad singer. 

HABITATION. When wild, the green bird may be found over all Europe, 
though not often far north. It may be seen during summer, in hedges, 
and on the borders of woods, and always where there are several trees near 
together ; during winter it wanders into different provinces, in large and 
numerous flocks ; but in March it begins to return from these journeys. 

In the house it may either be let range free, or be shut up in an ' aviary 
with other birds, where it is always very peaceable as long as it has suf- 
Hcient food ; but when that fails, it perches itself on the general food-drawer, 
and keeps it determinedly, pecking it with its beak so cleverly that no other 
bird can approach : should one venture, it is soon obliged to go away or 
lose its feathers ; otherwise this bird is as quiet and tame m the house as 
it is wild and active when at liberty. 

FOOD. In its wild state it seems to like all kinds of seed, even that of 
the milk thistle, which all other birds dislike. 

In the house, when it ranges at will, the second universal paste so well 
agrees with it that it becomes quite fat ; however, as a variety, rape and 
hemp seed may be thrown to it ; if in a cage it must only be fed in summer 
with rape seed, except a little hemp seed, which may be given after moult- 
ing, to make it sing. Lettuce, chickweed and other green food, always agree 
with it, and even the berries of the juniper tree. 

BREEDING. Its nest, which is almost always placed in a hedge, on a 
large branch near the trunk of a tree, or on the top of an old willow-tree, 
is firmly built with wool, moss, and lichen, and lined with very fine roots 
and bristles. The female lays, twice a year, fl ur or five pointed eggs, of a 
silver hue, spotted with light violet or brown. The young are at first of 
a greenish grey ; some yellow tints, however, may already be seen in the 
male. When reared from the nest, it learns, though with difficulty, to 
imitate the different songs of house-birds ; and, as it almost always happens 
-with slow memories, having once learnt a thing it never forgets it. It also 
sings through the whole year ; it should therefore be taught by a bird whose 
song is agreeable, for instance, a chaffinch, and then one would have the 
pleasure of hearing it without interruption through all the seasons. 


DISEASES. The constitution of the green bird being very strong and 
healthy, it is rarely subject to disease. It may be kept in good health for 
twelve year?. 

MODE OF TAKING. If the decoy bird be a good one, the green bird may 
be easily caught in the area or barnfloor trap, even in December. In the 
spring it may be taken with bird-lime on the lure-bush, when a linnet will 
do for the songstress. In order to make it eat soon, a little crushed hemp 
seed should be thrown in the bottom of its cage. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Without being handsome its song is not dis- 
agreeable ; it may also be taught to repeat words ; but its greatest merit is 
the wonderful ease with which it is tamed, equalling, and even surpassing 
the bullfinch in this particular. It may not only be accustomed to go and 
return again, but also to build in a room near an orchard, or in a summer- 
nouse in the garden. The following are the means which must be taken 
to make it do this : 

After having taken the young from the nest they must be put in a cage, 
and placed at the foot of the tree in which this nest is built, in a place 
dug for the purpose, and on the cage a tit as a decoy. When left there, 
the old birds come to feed their young, and are caught in the snare. As 
soon as they are taken, they must all be brought into the house, where the 
old and young must be put together in any aviary, or large cage, till the 
lattei can fly ; the window may then be opened for them to go out, but 
hunger will soon bring them back. As soon as they have exercised their 
wings, the old birds should be placed on the table in the window to call 
them back. In time, they become so familiar that they will accompany 
one in a walk, and there is no fear of their flying away. If they are not 
taken thus, it is necessary to wait for winter and snow to let them go out, 
and if they profit by the permission, to call them back by some of their 
species placed in a cage in the window. If you wish to be quite sure of 
success, you have only to put a board in the -window, on which two females, 
with their wings cut, can run about, go out, and return. 

The green bird likes to build near canaries, and as these are good nurses, 
they are given the eggs of the green bird, which, like the goldfinches and 
siskins, learns to draw up its water and food. 


Loxia Enuclator, LISNJJCS ; Le Durbec, BUFFON; Der Fichtenkerobeisser, 

THIS is one of the largest species of grosbeak that we have, 
equalling the Bohemian chatterer in size. Its length is eight 
inches and a half, of which the tail measures three ; the beak 
is short and thick, measuring only six lines; its colour is 
brown, the iris dark brown ; the feet are from twelve to 
thirteen lines high, and blackish ; the head, neck, breast and 
H 2 


rump are of a light vermilion, with bluish tints ; the feathers 
on the back and the lesser wing coverts are black, with reddish 

The female is generally of a greyish green, with some 
scattered reddish and yellowish tints, principally on the top of 
the head. It is not yet well known if this bird have the same 
changes of colour as the crossbill, since more yellow ones have 
been found than red. Experience shows that the same things 
take place in the house as out of doors. They acquire the 
yellow red, not only after the first moulting, but even before it. 
This change begins first round the beak, descends afterwards 
to the back and breast, and at last gradually extends over the 
whole body, so that what was red before becomes yellow ; this 
yellow is darker than citron ; all the red and yellow feathers 
are ash-colour at the base. The young are brownish, with a 
slight shade of yellow. During the first year the colour of the 
males is light red ; it is only after this that they become darker 
vermilion or crimson ; these birds are caught in autumn and 
winter, either in the noose or net, with elder or service berries 
as a lure. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird is found in all the northern regions of Europe, 
Asia, and America, and in Europe rarely passes the fifty-third degree of 
latitude. It frequents the pine and fir forests, the seeds of which form its 
food ; in winter it quits these places in search of berries ; this is what ranks 
it among the erratic birds. They are so stupid, that in the north they are 
easily caught with a circle of brass wire fixed to the end of a long pole, to 
which are fastened some horse-hair rings, which are simply passed over the 
head of the bird. They are often caught and kept in cages, as they are 
liked, both on account of the ease with which they are tamed, and of their 
song, which is very agreeable ; they Avill even sometimes sing in the night, 
and always preserve their song through the whole year, while the wild only 
sing in the spring. 


Loxia coccothraustes, LINNAEUS \ Le Grosbec, BUFFON ; Der geireine Kernbeisser, 

ONE must be a very great bird fancier to wish to have this 
bird in the house. Its length is seven inches, of which the 
tail measures two inches and a third. The beak, which is very 
thick in proportion to the rest of the body, is like a large blunt 


cone, dark blue in summer, and flesh-coloured, with the tip 
black, in whiter ; the slim feet are nine lines in height, and of 
a pale crimson; the yellowish brown of the forehead unites 
with the light chestnut on the top of the head and cheeks ; the 
circle of the head is black, and forms, under the chin, a large 
square spot ; the nape of the neck and upper part of the back 
are of a fine ash-grey, the lower part is of a dark brown, with 
some shades of grey on the rump. 

In the females, the cheeks, head, and upper tail coverts are 
of a greyish chestnut colour ; the throat, wings, and tail rather 
brown than black, the spot on the w r ings greyish, the under part 
of the body reddish grey, shading to white on the belly. 

HABITATION. When wild, it may be found in all the temperate parts 
of Europe and Russia. It is very common among the mountainous coun- 
tries of Germany, where the beech prevails in the forests. It is rather an 
erratic bird than a bird of passage, and its excursions are ended in March. 
Sonnini says, however, that he has seen it during winter, in Egypt, with 
the blackbirds and thrushes, and its excursions are ended in March. 

In the house it is gsuerally kept in a large wire cage, where it is soon 
tamed. It may also be let run about, provided it has not too many com- 
panions, and that it has food in abundance, for it is a very quarrelsome 

FOOD In its wild state it eats many different things; the fruit of the 

beech, elm, ash, and maple ; the berries of the juniper, service-tree, and 
white-thorn ; cherries and plums, the stones of which it breaks with the 
greatest ease, to eat the kernel ; hemp seed, cabbage, radish, and lettuce 
seed also form a part of its food. 

In the house, if confined in the cage, it is contented with rape and 
hemp-seed ; and if it run about, with the second universal paste. 

BREEDING Its nest is well built; the eggs, from three to five in 

number, are greenish grey, spotted with brown, and streaked with blackish 
blue. The young, when reared from the nest, will become so tarne as to 
eat from the hand, and will courageously defend itself with its beak against 
the dogs and cats ; it may also be accustomed to go and come. 

MODE OF TAKING. The haste with which these birds come on hearing 
the call, makes it very easy to catch them in the net, by throwing berries 
or hemp seed on the trap. In autumn and winter they may be taken by 
the noose, with service -berries ; in spring they may be caught by placing 
lime twigs on the nest. The loss of their liberty does not prevent their 
eating immediately rape or hemp seed. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. I confess that it has very few; its song is less 
agreeable than any o f the others', it is a kind of low whistling, mixed with 
pome harsh tones; but its great tameness may please; it is necessarv, 
however, co guard one's seli from its beak. 


Loxia cardinalis, LINNAEUS ; Cardinal hupp, ou Rossignol de Virginie, BHFFON ; 
Der Cardinal Kernbeisser, BEOHSTEIN. 

THE length of this bird is eight inches, of which the tail 
measures three. Its beak is strong and light red, like its feet ; 
the iris is dark brown ; the head is ornamented with a tuft, 
which, when raised, is pointed ; the throat and the part round 
the beak are black ; the rest of the body is of a beautiful bright 
red ; the peri and tail-feathers are less brilliant, and brown on 
the anterior part. 

The female is in general of a reddish brown. 

OBSERVATIONS. The beautiful song of this grosbeak is so like that of 
the nightingale, that this name has been given it ; but its voice is so strong 
that it pierces the ears. It sings through the whole year, except during 
the time of moulting. 

In its wild state, its principal food is the seed of the Indian corn and 
buck-wheat ; it collects a considerable quantity of this food, which it skil- 
fully covers with leaves and twigs, only leaving a very small hole, as the 
entrance to this magazine. In the cage it is fed with millet, rape seed, 
hemp seed, and the like, which agree with it very well. 

Some persons have endeavoured to make it breed in large aviaries in 
the middle of gardens, but I do not know that it has ever succeeded. In 
Germany it is very dear, being as much as six or eight pounds sterling for 
a pair. 


Loxia orycivora, LINNAEUS ; Le Padda, ou Oiseau de Riz, BUFFON ; Der Reiskern- 
beisser, BECHST BIN. 

THIS bird is about the size of a bullfinch, and five inches ia 
length, of which the tail measures two. The beak is thick, 
and of a fine rose colour ; the feet are paler ; the eyelids naked, 
and edged with rose colour; the head, throat, and streak 
which surrounds the cheeks, are black ; the cheeks are white ; 
the rump, tail, and greater pen-feathers are black, but all the 
rest of the upper part of the body, the wing-coverts, hinder 
pen-feathers, and breast, are of a dark grey ; the belly purpje 
grey ; the lower tail-coverts white. " The whole plumage," 
says Buffon, " is so well arranged, that no one feather .passes 
another, and they all appear downy, or rather covered with 


that kind of bloom which you see on plums ; this gives them a 
very beautiful tint." 

In the female the colours are rather lighter on the back and 
belly : the young are not only paler, but also irregularly spotted 
with dark brown on the cheeks and lower part of the belly. 

OBSERVATIONS. There are few vessels coming from Java and the Cape 
of Good Hope that do not bring numbers of these birds, -which have as 
bad a character in those countries, and particularly in China, their native 
olace, as the sparrows have amongst us, on account of the ravages they 
make in the rice fields. They have nothing attractive but their beauty, 
for their song is short and monotonous. They cost four or five pounds 
sterling a pair in Germany. 


Loxia Astrild. LINNJEUS ; Le S^n^gali ray, BUFFON ; Dor Gemeine Scuegalist, 

THIS bird is hardly larger than a golden-crested wren, its 
length being four inches and a half, of which the tail measures 
two inches ; the beak is rather rough at the base, and of a dark 
red ; the band which crosses the eyes, the centre of the breast 
and belly, are red ; the upper part of the body is brown, and 
the lower reddish grey, the whole streaked with transverse 
blackish lines, which become finer as they approach the head ; 
the quill-feathers are brown, as well as the tail, which is 
wedge-shaped, and streaked with darker transverse lines ; the 
feet are brown. These birds change colour like the amandava 
finch; thus some are found with the tail entirely brown, 
others which have the rump crimson, and the rest of the body 
brown above and white below, and some have the belly yellow, 
and the back spotted with white; there are some, indeed, 
which have the neck and throat bluish, the under part of the 
body white, mixed with iron colour, and the upper part blue. 

OBSERVATIONS They inhabit the Canary Islands, Senegal, Angola, the 
Cape of Good Hope, and may even be found as far as India, whence they 
are brought to Europe. Their beautiful shape, their umiable disposition, 
and the affection which they show to every one indiscriminately, render 
them such favourites, that a dozen may be often seen in one cage. Their 
song is scarcely any thing. They are fed on millet, which also forms their 
food in their native country, to the damage of the fields which are sown 
with it. They approach villages like our sparrows ; they are caught in 
traps made of the shell of a gourd, and cut like a bowl, on which some 
millet is scattered. 



Fringilla araandava, LINN.EUS ; Le Bengali Piquet^, BoFPon ; Der Getiegerte 
Bengalist, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS beautiful little bird, which is brought to Europe in 
great numbers from Bengal, Java, Malacca, and other tropical 
countries of Asia, is only four inches long, of which the tail 
measures one and a third. Most ornithologists class it with 
the sparrows, but it seems to me that it belongs rather to the 
grosbeaks. Its beak is short and thick, being only four lines 
in length, and the diameter at the base measuring three. Its 
colour is deep bright red ; the iris is also red ; the feet are six 
lines in height, and of a pale flesh-colour ; in the male the head 
and under part of the body are of a fiery red, the upper part of 
a dark grey, but the feathers have a broad red edge, so that 
this colour seems to prevail ; thus the edge of the feathers on 
the rump make it appear of a brilliant orange, though, like the 
belly, it is properly black ; the feathers of the back, tail, sides 
of the breast and belly, the wing-coverts, hinder quill-feathers, 
and both tail-coverts, are terminated at the tip with shining 
white spots, which are largest on the hinder quill-feathers, and 
larger wing-coverts, the colour of which is otherwise black. 

The female is one third smaller than the male ; part of the 
upper mandible is black ; the head and upper part of the body, 
including the wing-coverts, are of a dark ash-colour ; the fea- 
thers on the rump have only an orange edge, with a light tip ; 
the cheeks are of a light grey ; the under part of the body is 
pale sulphur, the pen-feathers blackish ; the greater and lesser 
wing-coverts are finely speckled with white ; the tips of the 
tail-feathers are greyish white. 

The male varies in its colours for several years before it 
permanently acquires those above described : it may be seen 
with the back grey, slightly tinted with red, the belly black, 
speckled with yellow ; others with the back reddish grey, 
spotted with bright red, and the belly of a sulphur yellow, 
with black rings, and more or less speckled, &c. 

OBSERVATIONS. These birds are as sociable as the \vaxbills ; if there 
should be twenty or thirty in the same cage, they perch close against one 
another on the same perch ; and, what is more singular they never sing 


together, but one after another, the rest keeping quite silent to listen to the 
songster. Their song resembles that of the hay bird, and continues through 
the winter. The females do not sing ; those are wrong who think the con- 
trary. They are very active, often bowing and spreading their tail like a 
fan. In their native country their food consists of different seeds, par- 
ticularly millet ; this is also given it in the cage, as well as canary seed. 
They eat and drink a great deal. They will live from six to ten years. 


Loxia erythrocephala, LINNAEUS ; Le Cardinal d'Angola, BUFFON ; Der Paridiese- 
Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is about six inches long ; the beak and feet are 
flesh-coloured, the head and chin red ; the upper part of the 
neck, the back, rump, and wing-coverts, bluish grey ; the upper 
tail-coverts are edged with grey ; the under part of the body 
white, with dark brown spots on the sides ; the whig-coverts 
white at the tip, which forms two transverse streaks on the 
wings; the pen and tail-feathers are of a dark grey, with 
lighter tips. The female does not differ from the male. 

OBSERVATIONS. The male sings through the whole year, hut its voice is 
so weak that the least noise overpowers it. In England this species has 
been made to breed in an aviary. Its food is millet and rape seed, and 
sometimes a little hemp seed. 


Loxi.i sanguinirostris, LINN^US ; Le Becsanguin, BUFFON ; Der Rothschabliger 
Kernbeisser, BKCHSTEIN. 

THIS pretty little bird is three inches and a half long, of 
which the tail measures one inch, and the beak four lines. 
The feet are nine lines in height, the middle claw measures five 
lines and the side ones four. The beak is strong, rather naked 
at the forehead, and of a dark blood red ; the feet are of a very 
red colour, the claws black ; the eyelids red, and irides orange : 
the circle of the beak, including the forehead, eyes, and chin, 
is black ; the top of the head rust-colour, more or less approach- 
ing to red. scattered with blackish spots, formed by the black 
of the feathers ; the under part of the body of a brownish red, 
clouded with white, and lighter on the sides and the lower part 


of the belly, the whole spotted with black in the young birds, 
but with no spots in the old ones. 

The female is altogether lighter, and has no black on the 
head, but two dark grey streaks above and under the eyes ; the 
under part of the body is only reddish grey. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species is found on the coasts of Africa, in Bengal, 
and other parts of Asia. It is a very agreeable bird, and though its voice 
is weak its song is only the more melodious. A male and female put 
together in a cage seem to be taken up with their mutual affection, always 
feeding and caressing each other. They are fed on crushed canary and 
hemp seed, which preserves them in good health for several years. The 
room in which they are kept must be heated dunng winter. 


Loxia Dominicana, LINN.EUS ; Le Paroare, BUFFON ; Der Dominicaner Kern- 
beisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is about the size of a lark. The upper part of the 
beak is brown, and the lower light flesh -colour ; the feet are 
grey ; the front of the head, the throat, and part of the neck 
red ; the back of the head is blackish, with a slight mixture of 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird comes from Brazil, and possesses nothing 
attractive but its beauty. Its song is merely an occasional call. In Ger- 
many it costs three pounds sterling. 


Loxia orix, LiNN^E cs ; Le Cardinal du Cap de Bonne EspeVance, BUPFON; Der 
Grenadier Kernbeisser, oder Feuervoge/, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is about the size of a sparrow. The beak is black ; 
iris chestnut; feet dark flesh-colour; forehead, sides of the 
head, chin, lower part of the breast and belly blackish ; the 
throat, top of the head and breast, rump, rent, and tail are of a 
fiery red, or brilliant carmine, and soft, like velvet. 

VARIETIES. 1. A black spot on the chin ; thighs red. 

2. Tail dark brown, with a greyish white border. 

In the female the beak is raven black, the upper part of the 
body dark brown, with light grey edgob to the feathers ; the 


head dark grey, with a whitish streak which passes above the 
eyes ; the under part of the body light grey. From this it 
seems to be very like the house sparrow ; its plumage is, how- 
ever, altogether lighter. 

The male takes these colours, in the house, at the second 
moulting, but the streaks are darker, the feathers of the upper 
part of the body being blackish, with broad borders of reddish 
grey ; the streak above the eyes is of a pale sulphur. When 
wild, the males, immediately after pairing, which is in January, 
lose their red feathers, and become like the females, but have 
them again hi July, ttbout the time of the second breeding 
season. They are pretty whilst moulting, when the head and 
body are speckled, the tail and neck still remaining red. 

OBSERVATIONS. These birds, which are very numerous in all the colonies 
at the Cape of Good Hope, do as much mischief there to the flowers and 
ears of corn, as the sparrows do in Europe. When retiring by thousands 
in the evening, from the fields to the reeds, they make such a noise with 
their chirping as may be heard to a great distance. Their call is like the 
sparrows' " dib, dib," and their song as weak as that of the siskin ; the 
nest is skilfully constructed with small twigs interwoven with cotton, and 
has but one opening, with two compartments, one above the other, the 
upper for the male and the lower for the female ; the eggs are green. 

These birds, when kept in a cage, are fed on canary seed. The male 
and female never like to be separated ; there is no instance, however, of 
their breeding in these climates. 


Loxia Capensis, LINNAEUS ; Le Pinson noir et jaune, BUFFON ; ler Capsche Kern- 
beisser, BECHSTEIN. 

I HAVE one of these birds, which is about the size of a bull- 
finch : its length is six inches and a quarter, of which the tail, 
which is rather wedge-shaped, measures two and a half. The 
beak is whitish above, very much compressed on the sides, and 
very pointed; the iris dark brown; feet dark flesh-colour. 
The head, neck, top of the back, all the under part of the body, 
and the tail are of a fine velvet black. 

The female, which is light brown, has a black spot in the 
centre of each feather ; the sides of the head and greater wing 
coverts are grey white, streaked with black ; the lesser coverts 


and the rump of a light yellow ; the tail-feathers edged with 
grey ; the beak pale or raven grey. 

The plumage of the male after pairing is like that of the 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird, which comes from the Cape of Good Hope 
lives very well in the house ; it is kept in a cage, alone or with the female, 
and fed with hemp and canary seed. In its native country it frequents the 
edges of streams and rivers, feeds on seeds, but is not so mischievous as 
the preceding. The eggs are grey, spotted with black. It is said to be 
nice to eat. 


Loxia Caffra, LINN.EUS ; Le Caffre, BUFFON ; Der Mohren Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is very little larger than the bullfinch, but its 
long and raised tail is about twice the length of its body : it is 
only ornamented with it during the pairing season.' The beak- 
is brown grey; the feet grey; the prevailing colour of the 
plumage is velvet black : the shoulders are red ; the coverts 
white ; the pen-feathers brown grey, with a white border. 

The female is always grey, and has only a little red on the 
shoulders. The male acquires its beautiful black plumage af 
the beginning of November, and loses it in January, to assume 
the colours of the female. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species, which is found in the interior of thr. 
country north of the Cape, lives and builds in marshes : it is rarely 
brought to Europe. The long tail of the male requires a large cage in order 
to preserve its beauty. In its wild state this length of tail is very incon- 
venient during the high winds ; and during the rainy season it may be 
caught by the hand. It is fed with canary seed. 


Loxia crerulea, LINN^US ; Le Bouvreuil bleu d'Ame'rique, BUFFOK ; Der dunkf ] - 
blaue Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is the size of the common grosbeak, about six 
inches and a half in length, of which the tail measures two. 
The beak, which measures six lines, is strong, and of a dark 
brown ; the feet black ; a black streak surrounds the chin, and 


extends to the eyes : the whole plumage is blue, except the 
greater wing coverts, the pen-feathers, and the central tail 
feathers, which are dark brown. 

The female is entirely brown, with a slight mixture of blue. 

OBSERVATIONS. I have had an opportunity of observing this bird among 
the collection belonging to his Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Mei- 
ningen, where it is fed on canary seed. It calls little, and its song is weak, 
but its plumage is beautiful. It is found in several parts of America, in 
Brazil, Cayenne, and even in Carolina. 


Loxia flaviventris, LINNJEUS ; L,e Grosbec jaune du Cap de Bonne Espgrance, 
BRISSON ; Der gelbafterige Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

I AM not sure that this bird, which I have also seen amongst 
those of his Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Meiningen, is 
the true Loxia flaviventris of Linnaeus. It is of the size of the 
common chaffinch, and five inches long. The beak, which is 
moderately strong, very much resembles that of the chaffinch, 
and is of a horn brown. The feet are a dull brown. The head 
and neck are of a dull pale blue ; the upper part of the body 
olive, the whole of the under part is a fine bright orange. 

The Yellow Grosbeak of the Cape of Good Hope is thus de- 
scribed : the head, upper part of the neck, and back are olive, 
with stripes of brown ; the rump olive. The under part of the 
body deep yellow ; on each side of the head is a yellow band 
which passes above the eyes ; the wings and tail feathers are 
brown, edged with olive. 

The female only differs in the colours being less vivid. 

VARIETY. The top of the head, the upper part of the body, 
and the breast are olive ; the back of the neck, even to the 
throat, is ash-coloured ; the belly yellow, but between the legs 
white. The wings are black, bordered with orange ; the tail 
feathers dark green, but they are bordered with yellow, and 
are black up the middle. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird has been sold as the female of the preceding, 
and placed in the same cage. It lived very sociably ; but I should suspect 
it rather of being the female of that under notice. It is a native of the 
Cape of Good Hope. 



Loxia punctularia, LINNJEUS ; Le Grosbec tachet6 de Java, BDFFON; Dergetiipfelte 
Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is the size of a linnet, about four inches and a 
quarter in length. The beak and feet black ; the whole of the 
upper part of the body, and the lower, as far as the breast, 
chestnut brown; the cheeks marked with a reddish purple 
tinge ; the belly and sides white, but all the feathers bordered 
with bteck in the form of a heart. 

The female has no red tinge on the cheeks, the beak and feet 
are deep brown j the sides white, tinged with deep brown : the 
back reddish brown. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species, which I have seen in the collection of His 
Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Meiningen, comes from Java ; it is kept 
in a cage and fed on canary seed. Its call is " deguayj' its feeble song 
somewhat resembles the siskin's. 


Loxia fasciata, LINN.EUS ; La Collerette ; Der gebanderte Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is the size of the preceding, about four inches and 
a half in length. The beak is bluish grey. The feet short and 
flesh-coloured ; the upper part of the body dark reddish ash 
grey, each feather having two black transverse bands, only one 
of which is visible ; the cheeks and lower mandible are sur- 
rounded by a band of dark reddish purple. 

The female has not this collar, and its plumage is paler ; the 
under part of its body is red brown, each feather edged with a 
deeper shade. 

VARIETIES. The one I have actually before me, and which 
1 received from Mr. Thiem, bird-dealer at Waltershausen, is a 
fine male, whose plumage is as follows : 

The head is dull orange, with black stripes very near toge- 
ther ; the upper part of the neck, the back and rump, are the 
same shade of orange, but each feather is intersected by a 
semicircular black line, and terminated by a spot of red brown ; 
the scapular wing coverts and last pen-feathers are dark grey, 
with transverse angular black bands, and bordered at the tips 
with red brown. 


2. This variety is thus described in Latham's Synopsis of 

The top of the head, upper part of the neck, and lesser wing 
coverts, light brown, with semicircular black lines ; the cheeks 
plain brown, but edged at the lower part with bright crimson, 
below which is a black line ; the breast and belly light brown, 
occasionally marked with semicircular lines ; the pen-feathers 
and tail are brown. 

OBSERVATIONS. Bird-fanciers give to these the name of Indian sparrows 
though they come from Africa ; their cry is similar to that of the common 
sparrow, and their song not very different. They are fed on canary seeds. 


Loxia canora, LINNAEUS ; Der braunwangige Kernbeisser, BECHSTEIN 

THIS bird is the size of the siskin, and four inches in length. 
The beak short, strong, and horn brown. The feet flesh-colour. 
The cheeks brown, adorned with a yellow border from the 
throat to the back of the ear. The female has no yello\< 
border to the cheeks. 

OBSERVATIONS.- This pretty species comes from Mexico ; its song is soft 
and clear ; its actions are as lively as they are amusing. It is kept in a 
cage, and fed on canary seed and millet. 


Loxia Malacca, LINNJEUS ; Le Jacobin, BUFFON : Der Malackische Kernbeisser, 

THIS bird is the size of the greenfinch, and four inches and 
a half in length, of which the tail measures one and a half. 
The beak thick, five lines in length, and bluish grey ; the feet 
the same colour. The head, neck, a stripe, which extends up 
the belly to the vent, and the thighs, are black ; the back, wings 
and tail, pale chestnut. 

The following is mentioned as a variety. 

The Chinese Grosbeak (Brissoris Ornithology, III., page 23o, 
No. 7), with the head, throat, and front of the neck black, the 
upper part of the body red brown or chestnut, the wings and 
tail similar to the one above. 

I have seen this bird hi a room several times, and have always 


regarded it as a male, on account of its song, and because, after 
moulting, its plumage returned unaltered, not becoming either 
white on the breast or black at the vent. 

Edwards, who has represented it in his 355th plate, has 
added a female, which he kept in the same cage, and which 
was improved by its companion. The upper part of its body 
was grey brown, the sides of the head and under part of the 
body pinkish, or rather blush colour, the wing and tail feathers 
blackish, the feet flesh-colour. 

The blackness of the wings and tail makes me suspect that 
this female belongs to another species ; its attachment and 
familiarity prove nothing. We know, in fact, that nearly all 
granivorous birds hold communion together, and mutually 
caress each other with the bill. 

OBSERVATIONS. The Malacca Finch comes from the East Indies : it is 
very gentle, confiding, and lively. Its voice is strong ; its cry, " tziapp" 
pronounced in a loud clear tone. Though its song is somewhat nasal and 
rather noisy, it is not disagreeable. 

Its food, when in confinement, is hemp and canary seed, which I have 
known preserve it for a long time in good health. 


Emberiza airalis, LINNTEUS ; L'Ortolan dc neige, BCFFON; Der Schneeamer, 

NATURALISTS say that the plumage of this bird differs con- 
siderably in summer and winter ; though, from analogy with 


others of its species, I am authorized in suspecting that this 
change arises rather from age. I shall leave the question 
undecided ; and since we can never see this bird when it has 
retired in summer within the arctic circle, its native home,, I 
shall content myself with describing its winter colours, such as 
we may see them in a room. 

It is the size of a lark, six inches and a half in length, of 
which the tail measures two and two-thirds. The beak is five 
or six lines in length, with every characteristic of the bunting 
species, conical in form, rather bent at the sides, and having a 
bony tubercle like a grain of barley at the palate ; its colour in 
the singing season is quite black, at other times the point alone 
is black, the rest yellow. The back and rump are black, the 
feathers of the back being edged with white, whilst those of the 
rump and scapulars are edged with yellowish brown, darker in 
spring than summer. 

The female is rather smaller, the head and upper part of the 
neck white, with a mixture of cinnnamon-brown, and trans- 
verse spots of the same colour form a kind of broken band across 
the white breast. 

The young ones which are taken in winter are known by their 
dark brown beak ; the lower part of the back is of the same 
colour, but their feathers are edged with a light grey. The 
male has the head most speckled with yellow brown, the cheeks 
of the female are of the same tint, and it has spots of this on 
the breast. 

OBSERVATIONS. When the winter is severe, these birds are seen from 
December to May in many parts of Germany, where they even approach 
the villages. I am persuaded that, if attention were paid to them, they 
might be seen in every direction, during March, on their passage to the North ; 
whilst snow is on the ground they are found in company with larks, on the 
high roads and in the fields; they may then be taken with horse dung, placed in 
net, or covered with birdlime, or by clearing a spot of ground of snow and 
strewing it with oats. I have had a pair six years in my room without a cage, 
and they are satisfied with the food common for other birds : if kept in a cage, 
they must be fed on hemp seed, oats, millet, rape, and poppy seeds. They 
appear much delighted whilst bathing; during the night they seem very 
uneasy, hopping and running about continually. Their strong and piercing 
cry resembles a loud whistle ; their song would be rather agreeable were it 
not interrupted in a peculiar manner ; it is a warbling mingled with some 
high noisy notes, descending slowly from shrill to deep, and a little strong 
and broken whistling. Heat is so contrary to their nature, that they cannot 
be preserved unless carefully guarded from it. 




Emberiza montana.LiNN.Eus; L'Ortolan de Montagne, BUFFON ; Der Bergammer, 

THIS bird is smaller than the snow bunting, has a short, 
strong yellow beak, with a black point ; the head is nearly flat, 
the frontal band light chestnut ; the upper part of the neck and 
back grey, with black streaks, most numerous on the back, 
causing a resemblance to the female yellowhammer ; feet 

The breast of the female is of a deeper colour than the male's. 

OBSERVATIONS This species, inhabiting the cold regions of Europe, is 
never found in great numbers. In Thuringia, and some other provinces of 
Germany, they are seen generally every year, in March, the time of 
passage, settling in pairs along the high roads, searching for a few undigested 
grains in the dung of animals. Their song is shrill, tolerably pleasing, and 
interrupted like the yellowhammer's, They may be easily kept in the 
house, either caged or not, feeding them on oats, bread, hemp, and other 
seeds. These birds also appear uneasy during the night, especially in the 
pairing season, uttering their call amidst the darkness. Some are occasion- 
ally met with of a dull orange on the upper part of the body, streaked with 
yellow on the head, and deep orange on the back. These are young birds. 
This species is caught in the same manner as the snow bunting. 


Emberiza citrinella, LINNAEUS ; Le Bruant, BUFFON ; Der Goldammer, BECHSTEIN. 

HOWEVER well known this bird may be, it is still necessary 
that it should be described minutely, as the young males and 
old females are often confounded with one another. It is six 
inches and a half in length, of which the forked tail measures 
three. The beak, five lines long, is dark brown in summer, 
and ash grey in winter ; the feet are of a light brown. The 
head of the old males is of a fine yellow, generally having 
some streaks of dark olive scattered over the top and on the 
cheeks; it is only in very old birds that the head and neck 
are of a golden yellow, without any mixture ; the upper part 
of the neck is olive ; the back black, mingled with reddish 
grey ; the feathers have black up the middle, and the edges 


reddish grey ; the rump is of a deep red ; the throat, with the 
under part of the neck and the belly, are yellow, more or less 
golden ; the breast, especially its sides, as well as the small 
coverts of the tail, is streaked with yellow and red. 

The female is rather smaller than the male ; the yellow of 
the head, neck, and throat, is scarcely seen through the spots 
scattered over it, which are brown on the head and cheeks, and 
olive-coloured on the neck ; the breast is only speckled with 
rust red, and the wing coverts with reddish white, so that at a 
distance it appears rather brown than yellow. 

Young male birds, in spring, scarcely differ from old females, 
except that a spot of yellow may even then be seen on the top 
of the head, as well as a streak of the same colour above the 
eyes and on the throat: in fact, the breast and rump are 
rather of a deep reddish brown than rust red, and also with- 
out spots. 

HABITATION In its wild state the yellowhammer is found in all parts 

of Europe, and the north of Asia. It remains in summer about the skirts 
of forests and small woods. It overruns the fields in autumn, and in the 
winter approaches our buildings, particularly barns and stables. 

When confined it is generally allowed to run about the room, but where 
it is rare, and therefore most valued, it is kept in a cage. 

FOOD. When wild these birds live on insects, particularly caterpillars, 
on which, like all the other species of this genus, they feed their young. 
In autumn and winter, they have recourse to all kinds of grain ; but they 
prefer oats, which, with barley, wheat, and millet, they know how to get at 
very cleverly, notwithstanding the bony tubercle at their palate. They 
also feed upon rape, and other small seeds, when they can get them. 

In the house, to preserve them in health, their food should be properly 
varied, giving them in turn oats, the crumb of white bread, meat, bruised 
hemp seed, poppy and rape seed. When running about, the second uni- 
versal paste agrees very well with them. It is no doubt to assist their 
digestion, that they often swallow fresh black earth, as I have always seen 
those do that I have kept ; this must not be forgotten to be given them, nor 
water for them to bathe in, which they enjoy very much. 

BREEDING This species breeds twice in the year, the first time in tk. 
end of March, or the beginning of April. The nest, which is placed in u 
hedge, bush, tuft of grass, or even in moss on the ground, is formed on the 
outside of straws, interwoven and lined within with the hair of horses and 
other animals. It contains from three to five eggs, of a dirty white, with 
zig-zag lines and spots of brown. When reared from the nest the young 
ones may be taught to imitate the song of the chaffinch, and a few notes of 
other birds. 

DISEASES. The disease most common to this bird is decline. The time 
i 2 


of moulting is very dangerous to them, as they suffer much, and sometimes 
die ; to render this period less dangerous, they should have fresh ants' eggs 
as soon as it commences, a remedy most useful to this species, to chaffinches, 
and to sparrows. 

MODE OF TAKING. The yellowhamrner is easily taken in winter, near 
our dwellings, either in a net, with a stalk of oats as a bait, or under a 
basket or sieve, which may be thrown down, by drawing away the small 
stick that supports it, by means of a string. They will also enter the area 
or barnfloor trap, if a perching bird is fastened there, by a string attached 
to the leather band round its body ; in spring they may be caught like other 
birds, by means of a bird-call. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The first of these is certainly the beauty of 
the bird, but the fine yellow which sets it off fades gradually when kept in 
the house, where it will live five or six years ; the second is its song, 
which, without being very distinguished, is rather pleasing ; its call, though 
not strong, is heard to some distance; but this bird, so gay, so spruce, so 
active when free, becomes dull, idle, and awkward in a cage. 


Emberiza miliaria, LINNJEUS ; Le Proyer, BUFFON ; Der Gerstenammer, 

THIS species, found throughout Europe and the north of 
Asia, has not so good a title to be admitted into the house as 
the preceding, not being distinguished either for its song or the 
beauty of its colours. With a plumage very similar to that 
of the sky-lark, it surpasses it in size, being seven inches and 
a half in length, of which the tail measures three. The beak, 
measuring six lines, is strong, yellowish on the under part in 
summer ; the rest of the year the whole of it is grey brown ; 
the feet the same, which stand six lines in height. The general 
tint of the plumage is pale, reddish grey on the upper part of 


the body, and yellowish white on the under, speckled like the 
lark's, with blackish brown spots. 

In the female the colours are rather lighter. 

HABITATION. In its wild state this bird is common in most parts of 
Europe ; in the more northerly parts it does not remain during the winter, 
and only appears at certain seasons ; in March they are met with amongst 
the larks in the fields, meadows, and on the high roads, often perched on 
the tops of willows, or on a stake in a hedge, on a milestone, or a clod of 

In a room it may occupy a lark's cage, but is more commonly let run 
about at liberty. 

FOOD. Both at liberty and in confinement its food is similar to that of 
tl\e yellowhammer ; it is however a more delicate bird. 

BREEDING. Its nest, placed under a bush, does not rest on the ground 
but on the turf; it is constructed of the stalks of grass, and lined with horse- 
hair. The eggs are grey, speckled with chestnut and streaked with black. 

MODE OF TAKING. In autumn these birds may be taken in an area 
with a decoy bird ; in winter, before the barn door, with birdlime or a 
clapper ; in the spring with a bird-call. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES Their song, shorter and less soft than that of 

the yellowhammer, has only four or five notes ; from their dwelling on the 
r in the last, they have been given the name of stocking weavers* 


Emberiza hortulena, LINNAEUS ; L'Ortolan, BUFFON ; Der Gartenamraer, 

IT is necessary to give a very exact description of this spe- 
cies, as not only birdcatchers, but even some naturalists, give 
the name of Ortolan to several very different species. Under 
this name the former sell all rare birds of this kind. The true 
ortolan has a wider breast and stronger" beak than the yellow- 
hammer ; it is six inches and a half in length, of which the 
tail measures two and a half ; the beak, six inches long, is 
thick at the base, with a bony tubercle at the palate, and is of 
a yellowish flesh- colour ; the iris dark brown. The legs, which 
stand ten lines in height, are flesh-coloured ; the head and 
neck is greyish olive ; the throat and a streak on the neck 
from the angle of the beak, deep yellow. 

The female is rather smaller, of a changeable shining ash- 
colour on its head and neck, streaked with fine black lines. 
Its breast, and the upper and under part of its body, are lighter 
than in the male. 


The throat of the young male birds, before the first moult- 
ing, is of a light yellow, with a mixture of grey ; the breast 
and belly are of a reddish yellow, speckled with grey, which 
make them rather resemble young yellowhammers. A bird 
fancier will distinguish the two sexes even in the nest. There 
are white, yellow, speckled, and in the house sometimes even 
black varieties. 

HABITATION. In its wild state the ortolan is principally found in the 
southern and temperate parts of Europe, and is not scarce in some of the 
provinces of Germany ; but if attention were paid to them there, they 
might he seen in every direction on their passage ; for though they may 
not remain during the summer in a district, yet they make some stay, 
never passing over a great space of country at a time. Their route is so 
exact and regular, that when one has been seen in a particular spot, espe- 
cially if in spring, it is sure to be found there the following year at the 
same time. They fly rather in families than flocks : the time of their ar- 
rival iu Germany is towards the end of April, or beginning of May ; they 
are then met with in orchards, amongst brambles or in groves, where they 
build, particularly if millet is cultivated in the neighbourhood. During 
harvest they frequent the fields in families, and leave after the oats are 
gathered in*. 

In the house, if much valued, they are given a cage ; but in countries 
where they are common they are let run about free. 

FOOD. In their wild state they live on insects and grain. In the house 
they are fed, if in a cage, on millet, hemp seed, and prepared oats ; if at 
liberty in a room the universal paste suits them very well. These birds, 
being rather delicate, cannot ofteu be preserved .beyond three or four years. 

DISEASES. The most common disease of these birds is atrophy, to cure 
or prevent which it is necessary to know how properly to mix and vary 
animal with vegetable food ; but this calls for a greater degree of attention 
and care than most persons are willing to give. 

MANNER OF TAKING. In spring these birds are easily attracted to a 
decoy bush, by a female of their own species, or a yellowhammer. In 
August a turfy place should be chosen near brambles, to form a small area, 
us a decoy, like that made for chaffinches. It must be surrounded with a 
low hedge, with some oat-ears fastened to it. About the area should be 
placed one or several birds of call, especially a perching bird, that is to say, 
a bird of the same species, with a band of soft leather round it, and con- 
fined by a small string, fastened to a peg-stick in the ground, which pre- 
vents its going beyond the prescribed limits. Here it should be given 
plenty of food and water, in order that the birds to be caught may be the 
more easily attracted within the area, from seeing one of their own species 
in a place of abundance. This kind of decoy bird is often more necessary 
than any other. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The fine form and colours of the ortolan 
would be sufficient to render it desirable, but still more so its flute-like 

* It is not found in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


warbling, so clear and full, -which has some resemblance to that of the 
yellowhammer, only that the last notes are much deeper. 

Ever since ortolans have been known to epicures as a delicacy, they have 
been fattened with great care. The common way is to keep them in a 
room only lighted by lanterns, so that they cannot distinguish day from 
night : they are then plentifully fed on oats, millet, and the crumb of 
white bread, made up with good spice. In a short time they become so 
fat that they would be suffocated if not killed at once. An ortolan thus 
fed is a perfect ball of most delicious fat, weighing about three ounces. 


Emberiza Cirlus, LINN;EU$ ; Le Zizi, ou Bruant de Haie, BUFFON ; Der Zau- 
nammer, BECHSTEIN. 

LINNAEUS has described only the female, and by mistake I 
have called the male Emberizal Eceathorax, and have given a 
drawing of it and the female, in the second volume of my 
German translation of the English work of Latham, Synopsis 
of Birds, printed at Nuremberg, 1794. 

DESCRIPTION. This bird, scarce in many provinces of Germany and in 
Britain, but well known in Thuringia, is about the size of the yellowham- 
mer, being five inches and a half in length, of which the tail measures two 
and a half. Its small and flattish beak is of a brownish blue on the upper 
part, and light brown on the under ; the feet, eight lines in height, are 
flesh-coloured ; the upper part of the head and neck olive green with small 
black strokes, a golden yellow streak extends from the angle of the upper 
mandible to the middle of the neck, passing under the eyes ; another begins 
from the angle of the under mandible, and descending in a straight line, is 
crossed by a third, which is black, then curving round behind the yellow 
streak under the eyes, reunites with the black one on the throat ; the back 
and smaller wing-coverts are cinnamon brown, mixed with black and yellow 
green ; the rump is olive, with black streaks ; the breast is a fine olive 
green, light chestnut on the sides ; the rest of the under part of the body is 
of a golden yellow. 

The female is known by its plumage being much paler : the head and 
upper part of the neck are olive, much streaked with black ; the back is 
pale brown, the rump more streaked with black, the tail rather greyish 
black than black ; two pale yellow lines pass one above the other below the 
eyes, and cross a black line which unites to the black border of the cheeks ; 
the throat is brownish, with a lighter spot below ; the breast is olive, with 
the sides brownish, the rest of the under part of the body is pale yellow. 

The young ones, before their first moulting, have the upper part of the 
body light brown, speckled with black, the under pale yellow streaked with 
black ; the older they grow the more of an olive tint the breast acquires. 

HABITATION. In their wild state these birds dwell chiefly in the south- 
ern and temperate parts of Europe, where they frequent orchards, groves, 


and the skirts of forests.* They are birds of passage, which leave in No- 
vember and return in April ; they are then met with very commonly 
among the chaffinches. 

In the house they must be treated in the same manner as the ortolan. 

FOOD. In their wild state they feed on the cabbage caterpillar in sum- 
mer, and when corn is ripe, on wheat, barley, millet, oats, and other 

BREEDING They place their nest in a hedge or bush on the road side, 
and build it of small straws and line it with horse-hair. The eggs are 
greyish, speckled with chestnut. In the end of July whole families are 
met with in the fields, particularly those planted with cabbages, and that 
have willows in the neighbourhood. 

DISEASES AND MODE OF TAKING. These are similar to what is said under 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The male surpasses the ortolan in beauty, but 
does not equal it in its song, as in this it more resembles the yellowhammer. 

These birds, however, are very easily tamed, and may be preserved five 
or six years. 


Emberiza Cia, LINN^EDS ; Le Bruant Fou, BUFFON ; Der Zipamraer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is rather smaller than the yellowhammer, being 
only six inches long, of which the tail measures two and a 
half; the beak, five lines in length, is very sharp, blackish 
above, and greyish below; the iris is dusky; the legs, nine 
lines in height, are of a brownish flesh-colour. The head is 
grey, spotted with red, with small black streaks on the top, 
and an indistinct black line on the sides ; the back is reddish 
brown, speckled with black, the rump light red brown; the 
throat pale ash-colour. 

The female differs very little from the male : the head is grey 
with a reddish tint and black spots ; she has also all the streaks 
that the male has, but less marked ; the ash-coloured throat is 
streaked with black and has a reddish tint ; in short, the whole 
of the under part of the body is lighter. 

HABITATION. When wild, this species, which loves solitude, and prefers 
mountainous districts, inhabits the south of France, Italy, and the south of 
Austria. In some winters they quit these countries and proceed even to 
the middle of Germany, where they are found in March and April in 
elevated situations. 

In the house they are either kept in a cage or left to range a room, and 

* Those occasionally caught in the South of England may be purchased in 
London at about 7s. TRANSLATOR. 


the latter seems to agree with them best, particularly if they have a grated 
and quiet place to rest in and pass the night. 

FOOD. When wild, these birds, like others of the genus, feed on insects 
and grain. 

In the House they may be fed on the same food as the ortolan, on which 
they may be preserved in health above six years, as 1 have proved by a pair 
which I kept myself for that time. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds come without difficulty at the call of 
the yellowhammer, and enter into every kind of snare so heedlessly, that 
they have thence been given the name of foolish bunting. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. They are very fine and lively birds, whose 
voice is heard the whole year ; in winter their note of call, and from spring 
to autumn, their cheerful song, shorter indeed, but clearer than that of the 
yellowhammer. They live very amicably in a room with other species of 
their genus, especially the yellowhammer ; and where one goes the other 
follows, and if one chooses any particular food, the other prefers the same. 


Ernberiza Schceniclus, LINNJEUS ; L'Ortolan de Roseaux, BCFFON ; Rohrammer, 

THIS bird is nearly the size of the mountain sparrow, its 
length being five inches three-quarters, of which the tail mea- 


tures two and a half; the beak, four lines in length, is black 
on the upper part, and whitish on the under ; the iris is dark 
brown ; the legs, nine lines high, are dark flesh-coloured. The 
head is black, with reddish spots ; a reddish white line extends 
from the base of the lower mandible quite round the head ; the 
back is black, spotted with wliite and red, the rump alter- 
nately grey and reddish yellow ; the throat is black spotted. 

The feathers on the head of the male never return to as good 
a black after moulting, when in the house, as in its wild state, 
but remain always browner, and clouded with reddish white. 

The head of the female is of a rusty brown, spotted with 
black ; her brown cheeks are encircled with a reddish white 
streak, which, passing above the eyes, unites with another which 
commences at the base of the beak ; a dark streak passes down 
the sides of the throat, which, with the under part of the body, 
is reddish white, much streaked on the breast with light brown ; 
the colour of the back is lighter, but less clear than that of the 

HABITATION. In their wild state this species is found throughout Europe 
and the north of Asia, flying in small flocks, and returning in March in 
great flights. The females follow the males, and do not remain behind, as 
some pretend. During winter some of these birds are met with here and 
there amongst the yellowhammers ; they frequent moist places, the banks of 
ponds and rivers ; they run nimbly up the stalks of aquatic plants, but 
rurely ascend trees. 

In the house it is the custom here to let them range a room ; but they 
may be kept in a cage. 

FOOD. "When wild they feed on the seeds of rushes, bullrushes, reeds, 
and grasses, as well as on the numerous insects that frequent the water 

In the house they seem to relish the first universal paste and poppy seeds, 
on which food they will live five or six years ; but afterwards they droop 
and die of atrophy or scurf, as I have remarked several times. 

BREEDING. These birds make their nests among the reeds and brambles 
on the water-side. They lay five or six eggs of a dusky light grey, with 
dark grey spots and dusky lines rather indistinctly mingled. 

MODE OF TAKING In autumn they enter the area or decoy with the 
chaffinch ; in spring, when there is snow, they approach the barns and 
dunghills, and there, as well as in open places in the fields and on the hedges, 
they are very easily taken with a net or birdlime. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Their song is alternately weak and strong. 
Three or four simple tones, mingled from time to time with a sharp r, 
distinguish it from every other ; it is heard all the summer, even during the 
night. Of all the buntings, this is the most easily tamed ; it is also a 
great amateur of music, approaching the instrument without fear, as I have 


observed several times, not of one only, but of many of these birds, 
testifying its joy by extending its wings and tail like a fan, and shaking 
them so that, by this exercise the feathers have been much injured. 
The female sings also, but its tones are weaker than those of the male. 


Emberiza passerina, LINNEUS ; L'Ortolan Passerin ; Der Sperlingsammer, 

THIS species must have been confounded with the preceding, 
or it would have been better known, as it is not rare either in 
autumn or spring. It is smaller and more slender than the 
former, being only five niches long, of which the tail measures 
two and a quarter ; the beak is black above and light brown 
below ; the iris is of a dark chestnut ; the feet are nine lines in 
height and of a dusky flesh-colour ; but the plumage in general 
is similar to that of the female of the preceding species. 

The male has the top of the head red, with a grey longitu- 
dinal streak in the middle, and many black spots arising from 
the deeper shade of the feathers which appears in every di- 
rection ; a dusky reddish white line passes from the nostrils 
above, and also a little under the eyes, and widening behind on 
the temples, a chestnut brown colour breaks through a deep 
black, which reaches the sides of the neck and becomes a spot 

The colours of the female are in general lighter, and the 
black does not appear on the top of the head ; a reddish white 
streak passes above the eyes, another descends from the base of 
the beak down the sides of the neck, a third, but of a dusky 
black, extends from each side of the chin to beyond the middle 
of the neck. 

When kept in the house the black disappears from the head 
of the male, and the upper part of the neck becomes greyish 
white, spotted longitudinally with dusky black. 

OBSERVATIONS. Thick woods and bushes in .1 mountainous country are 
the favourite haunts of the sparrow bunting. It is a bird of passage, which 
quits us in October or November and returns in April. It is not rare in 
ThuriBgia, particularly at the time of passage ; formerly it was only known 
in Russia. Its food, when wild, is insects and all kinds of grain. 

In the house, it is fed on the same food as the reed bunting, which it 
very much resembles in its song and habits : it is taken in the same 



Emheriza paradisea, LINN.EUS ; La Veuve a collier d'or, BUFFON ; Der Para- 
diesammer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS beautiful and rare species is the size of a linnet. 
Reckoning from the beak to the end of the side tail-feathers, 
it is five inches and a half in length. The beak is lead- 
coloured ; the iris chestnut ; the feet are flesh-coloured ; the 
head, chin, front of the neck, back, wings, and tail are black ; 
the back of the neck pale orange ; the breast, thighs, and upper 
part of the belly are white, the lower part is black ; the two 
intermediate tail-feathers measure four inches, are very broad, 
and terminate hi a long filament ; the two that follow, above 
three inches long, are very broad in the middle, narrower and 
pointed at the end, from their shaft springs also a filament 
more than an inch long ; the other side feathers are only two 
inches and a half in length ; the two in the middle amongst the 
longest a little diverging, and arched like a cock's, are glossy, 
and more brilliant than the others. 

The female is entirely brown, almost black, and does not ac- 
quire its proper plumage until the third year ; whilst young it 
very much resembles the winter plumage of the male. 

This bird moults twice in the year. At the first, which 
takes place in November, the male loses its long tail for six 
months, its head is streaked with black and white, the rest of 
its plumage is a mixture of black and red ; at the second, 
which takes place late in the spring, it resumes its summer 
dress, such as it has been described above, but the tail-feathers 
do not attain their full length till July and drop in November. 

OBSERVATIONS. This beautiful species comes from Angola, and other 
parts of Africa, and is particularly common in the kingdom of Whidah, or 
Juida, in Guinea, and hence it takes its name. Though it was formerly 
brought in great numbers into Germany, it still costs there thirty or forty 
rix dollars. These birds are very lively, and constantly in motion, always 
waving their long tail up and down, often arranging their feathers and 
amusing themselves with bathing. Their feeble song, though somewhat 
melancholy, is however very agreeable. They may be preserved from 
eight to twelve years if fed on canary seed, millet, barley meal, and the 
like, not forgetting to add from time to time lettuce, endive, or other 
green food. They must be given a large cage, to prevent their spoiling 
their fine tail. 



Emberiza serena, LINNAEUS ; La Veuve Dominicaine, BUFFON ; Der Domini- 
kaiierammer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, six inches and three quarters in length, is 
smaller, more rare, and nearly twice as dear as the preceding. 
It comes from Africa likewise. The beak is red; the feet 
grey ; the upper part of the head is black, but the top is 
reddish white, which extends over the whole of the under part 
of the body, the chin, and temples, and even the under part of 
the tail ; sometimes this tint fades into pure white : the upper 
part of the neck and the back are black, but the feathers are 
edged with dusky white ; the inner wing coverts being white, 
give the wings the appearance of being so when folded, but 
they are black, the quill- feathers alone are edged with white ; 
the tail is also black ; the two middle feathers terminate in a 
point, and are two inches longer than the others, which gradu- 
ally diminish in length the farther they are from the middle, 
the three first only have the points white, but the two outer 
ones have the beard white and the edge pale orange. 

The female is entirely brown, and the tail-feathers are of 
equal length. This species also moults twice in the year : the 
male loses its tail for six months, and the white of its plumage 
becomes less pure. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird requires the same treatment as 'the former, 
and sings in the same very agreeable manner. 


Emberiza regia, LINNAEUS ; La Veuve a quatrebrins, BUFFON ; Der KOiiigsammer, 

THIS is also more rare than the Whidah bunting. Its length 
to the end of the short feathers of the tail is nearly four inches 
and a half. The beak and feet are red ; the upper part of the 
body black ; the sides of the head, the eyes, neck, and under 
part of the body are orange. 

The female is brown, and has no long feathers in the tail. 
The winter plumage of the male is grey, like the linnet, but 
rather brighter. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird comes from Africa, and is not less admired 
than the preceding. 


Eroberiza cyanea, LINNAEUS ; Fringilla cyanca, WILSON ; La Veuve bleue, ou 
le Ministre, BUFFON ; Der Indigo Ammer, BF.CHSTEIN. 

THE length of this bird is five inches. The beak dark lead- 
coloured ; the feet brown ; the whole plumage is of the most 
beautiful blue, deeper and still more brilliant at the top of the 
head ; the great quill-feathers are brown edged with blue ; the 
tail brown, with a pale tint. 

The female very much resembles the linnet in its colour, as 
the male does during moulting, for it is only blue when in full 
feather ; but the male may be distinguished easily at all times 
by the sides of the wings being of a lighter grey than in the 

OBSERVATIONS. This species is most commonly found in Carolina, but 
is not rare about New York, where it arrives the beginning of- April. It 
frequents the orchards when they are in bloom, and appears to prefer 
mountainous parts. Its agreeable song, which very much resembles that 
of the linnet, and the beauty of its plumage, render it a favourite with 
bird-fanciers. Its food is canary seed, millet, poppy seed, and bruised 
hemp seed. 



Embcriza Ciris, LINN^EOS ; Le Pape, BOKFON ; Der gemahlte Ammer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird owes its name to its plumage. It is five inches 
and a half in length, of which the tail measures two. The 
beak is greyish brown, the iris nut brown ; the feet brown ; 
the head and neck are violet, the circle round the eyes is red ; 
the upper part of the back and the scapulars are yellowish 
green, the lower part, the rump, and all the under part of the 
body are of a fine red ; the lesser wing-coverts violet brown 
with a red tinge, the greater of a dull green ; the pen-feathers 
brown, some bordered with grey, others with red; the tail- 
feathers are also brown, but the two middle ones are of a 
changeable red, and the outer border of the others is of the 
same colour. 

The upper part of the body of the female is of a dull green, 
the under part yellow green ; her pen-feathers are brown edged 
with green, as are also the tail-feathers. 

As the plumage of this bird does not come to perfection 
before the third year, there must naturally be several varie- 
ties. During the first year the male and female are of the 
same colour ; the head of the male does not become a violet 
blue till the second year, and the rest of its plumage is then a 
blue green, as are also the edges of the quill and tail-feathers, 
which are elsewhere brown. 

The female at this time is of a fine changeable blue. If to 
these differences arising from age are added the two moultings 
which take place every year, we shall not be surprised rarely 
to meet with two birds alike. There is besides another variety, 
having the under part of the body yellowish, except a red spot 
on the breast ; and again another, which in the time of moult- 
ing is entirely white. 

OBSERVATIONS, These birds are found from the frontiers of Canada to 
Guiana and Brazil ; none, however, are seen in Carolina less than one 
hundred and thirty miles from the sea. They only show themselves in 
summer, and build principally on orange or similar trees. English and 
Dutch sailors take home many of these birds, and it has been said that in 
England they have succeeded in making them breed in aviaries in gardens, 
spacious enough to contain orange trees, on which they have constructed their 
nests. When in a cage they are fed on millet, canary-seed, endive, and 
poppy-seed, on which they may be preserved from eight to ten years. Their 
song is soft and agreeable. 


Fringilla Ccelebs, LINN^US ; Le Pinson coramun, BUFFON ; Der Buch-Fiiii, 

THIS delightful songster of spring, famed for the sprightli- 
ness of its warbling, this favourite of most of our bird-fan- 
ciers, is so generally known that I should be tempted to suppress 
its description if the uniformity of this work and the wish to 
render it complete, did not impel me to give it. This will also 
offer some particulars worthy the attention of the naturalist. 

The passion for this bird is carried to such an extent in Thu- 
ringia, and those which sing well are sought for with so much 
activity that scarcely a single chaffinch that warbles tolerably 
can be found throughout the province. As soon as one arrives 
from a neighbouring country whose notes appear good, all the 
bird-catchers are after it, and do not give up the pursuit till 
they have taken it. This is the reason why the chaffinches in 
this province are so indifferent songsters : the young ones have 
only bad masters in the old ones, and they in their turn cannot 
prove better. 

This bird is six inches and one-third in length, of which the 
tail measures two and three quarters. The beak is conical, 
pointed, and white in winter ; but as soon as spring, the season 
of pairing and song, arrives, and till the time of moulting, it is 
of a deep blue, and one may know by this whether it has sung 
or not. The iris is chestnut brown ; the legs, nine lines high, 
are dusky ; the claws are very sharp, and grow so fast in a 
cage that it is necessary to cut them every six weeks, if you 
do not wish to see the poor bird some day caught by them, 
and perish miserably unless rescued. The forehead is black, 
the top of the head and nape of the neck are greyish blue, in 


very old males deep blue, and then thick downy hairs are per- 

After moulting, at the beginning of winter, the colours 
become lighter, the front of the head is only deep brown ; the 
top and the nape of the neck a changeable greyish and olive 
brown ; the red brown of the breast is brighter ; this is also 
the plumage of the young ones in the second year, particularly 
if of the last brood ; they are called grey -heads, by bird- 
catchers, who can easily distinguish, in the spring, the young 
from the old males, and very much prefer them, because, if 
properly caught, they may be taught to improve their song 
when confined in the house ; while the others never learn, or 
change very little, at least rarely, the song they have acquired 
in their wild state. 

The female is very different, being smaller, while the head, 
neck, and upper part of the back are greyish brown, and all 
the under part of the body is a dusky white, rather reddish 
grey on the breast ; and the beak, greyish brown in spring, 
becomes greyish white in winter. 

There are some remarkable varieties of this species, one 
quite white, another with a white collar, a third streaked, 
spotted, &c. There is no distinction between the wood 
chaffinches and those of the gardens and orchards, as has been 

HABITATION. In its wild state, the chaffinch frequents forests, copses, 
and orchards, and ought to be reckoned among birds of passage, though 
there are always some that remain the winter with us. The time of pas- 
sage, in autumn, continues from the beginning of October to the middle of 
November, and in spring during the month of March. These birds per- 
form their journey in large flocks. In the spring the males arrive in sepa- 
rate flights, fifteen days before the females ; our birdcatchers know this so 
well, that as soon as they perceive these they put up their implements, 
their sport being then over. 

In the house, though each may vary the form of the cage to his taste, the 
best, in my opinion, is an oblong cage nine inches long, seven in depth, and 
seven in height, with the food and water at the two farthest sides, and the 
perches placed opposite. A bell-shaped cage does not suit the chaffinch, as 
it prefers jumping down in front, and swinging itself round, to remaining at 
the top. If there are several in one room they must be placed so as not to 
see each other, or their song will be injured. Those only are allowed to 
range whose song is very inferior, and must be provided with a grated place 
to retire to, or some branches to perch on. These never siug so well as 
those in cages, their song appearing to require the greatest attention, and 
hence there should be nothing to distract them. 



FOOD. When wild, their food in spring is all sorts of insects, which they 
carry to their young in their beaks ; later in the season they eat various 
kinds of seeds, pine 'and fir seeds, when they inhabit forests that contain 
them, linseed, oats, rape, cabbage, and lettuce, which they know well how 
to procure and shell. 

In the house they are fed all the year on rape seed, dried in summer, or, 
which is better, soaked and swelled in water, on which food they appear to 
thrive. Every day a sufficient quantity should be soaked for the next, and 
given them fresh every morning. In the spring they are allowed a little 
hemp-seed, or the seed of the nettle-hemp (Galeopsis Telrahii), to 
excite their song, and this plant is therefore very much prized in Thuringia ; 
but these seeds should not be mixed with the rape, as in trying to find 
them they soon scatter their food ; it is best to put it in a separate drawer 
fastened to the iron wires of the cage, between which it may be slipped. It 
must not be omitted to supply them with green vegetables, chickweed, 
lettuce, and the like ; and in winter a piece of apple, meal-worms, and ants' 
eggs agree with them. They must have fresh water regularly every day, 
both to drink and bathe in. 

Those that range the room live on the different sorts of food they meet 
with, bread, meat, and all sorts of seeds. 

BREEDING. The nest of the chaffinch is one of the most beautiful of 
birds' nests, and formed in the most skilful manner. It is the shape of a 
half globe flattened on the upper part, and so perfectly rounded that it has 
the appearance of having been turned on a lathe. Cobwebs * and wool 
fasten it to the branch, bits of moss with small twigs entwined form the 
ground-work ; the lining is composed of feathers, thistle-down, the hair of 
horses and other animals, whilst the outer covering is formed of the dif- 
ferent lichens that grow on the tree in which it is placed, the whole firmly 
united and well cemented. This outer finish is no doubt intended to 
deceive an enemy's eye ; in fact, it is very difficult, even with great atten- 
tion, to distinguish the nest from the bark of the branch on which it is 

The female has two broods in the year ; she lays from three to five eggs, 
of a pale bluish grey, spotted and streaked with brown : the first brood 
x and this is confirmed in general by observations on other birds) rarely 
produces any but males, the second only females. Bird-fanciers can dis- 
tinguish the one from the other before they leave the nest ; the breast of 
the male already discovering a reddish tint, the circle round the eyes being 
yellower, the wings blacker, and the lines that cross them whiter, though 
in other respects it resembles its mother. If you wish to be quite sure, 
pluck some feathers from the breast of the bird you have taken from the 
nest, in a fortnight they will he replaced, and the presence or absence of 
red will infallibly decide whether it is male or female. As soon as the tail- 
feathers begin to appear they must be taken from the nest, to prevent the 
possibility of their ear being injured by hearing an imperfect song, for 
scarcely are the wings and tail half grown than these birds begin to warble, 
and to imitate the song of those around them. 

They must be fed on rape seed soaked in water and the crumb of white 

See " Architecture of Birds," page 265. 



bread ; it is very easy to rear them and preserve them healthy till the time 
of moulting, but then numbers perish, particularly if not quickly relieved 
by being given meal-worms and ants' eggs, or any other animal food, as 
bread boiled in or soaked in boiled milk. 

Chaffinches that have been reared with care become very familiar, and 
sing at command, or when one approaches their cage in a friendly manner. 
If they are wished to learn quickly and accurately, they should be kept in 
an obscure corner of the room, and only hung up at the windows in May ; 
this is the surest way to prevent their learning any thing imperfect. By 
these means chaffinches that have been taken full grown have forgotten 
their former song and adopted a better. The whole artifice consists in 
keeping the bird in such retirement as will remove everything that might 
distract it when listening to a fine songster, and take away the wish to sing 

There have been examples of chaffinches pairing with female canaries, 
and it has been said with a female yellowhammer. The distinction between 
wood and garden chaffinches is unfounded, at least as to species ; the eggs 
of both are of the same whitish pink colour. 

DISEASES. The disorders to which the chaffinch is most subject are the 
obstruction of the rump gland * and diarrhoea. To cure this an old nail or 
a little saffron should be put in the water. 

When the scales on the feet become too large, the upper ones must be 
cut skilfully with a sharp knife, or else the bird would either lose the use 
of his limbs or become gouty ; but this operation must be performed with 
great care. 

Blindness also is not uncommon, particularly where they are fed much 
on hemp seed. This does not, however, injure their song, and as it comes 
on gradually, it does not prevent their finding their food and hopping about 
the perches. By means of proper care a chaffinch may be preserved twenty 

MODE OF TAKING. With good baits the chaffinch may easily be drawn 
within the area or decoy from Michaelmas to Martinmas, and in spring 
throughout March. Those that remain the winter, or return early in the 
year, may be taken in a net baited with oats. 

Birdcatchers use in spring lures and lime twigs, and the sport lasts as 
long as the time of flight, which begins at daybreak and ends at nine o'clock. 
These birds employ the rest of the day in seeking food in the fields, in 
resting, and singing. In the same manner are taken linnets, goldfinches, 
siskins, yellowhammers, and bullfinches. 

Some make use of the excessive jealousy of the males to procure those 
whose song is very superior. As soon as a bird-catcher who likes this way 
discovers a fine songster wild, he immediately seeks another male that is 
in the habit of often repeating its natural cry, fink, fink, ties his wings, and 
fastens to his tail a little forked stick, half a finger long, well covered with 
birdlime ; thus prepared, he fastens him under the tree on which the one 
he is watching is perched ; this no sooner sees and hears the false rival 

* The want of a bathing place in the narrow cages where these unhappy prisoners 
are kept is the true cause of this disease. 



than he hecomes enraged, pounces on him like a bird of prey, and is caught 
with the birdlime ; his attack is often so violent that sometimes the bird 
ot call is killed by the stroke of its adversary. The following is a surer 
method : a soft, narrow leather band is fastened round a male, to which 
is attached a string a foot long, fastened by a peg, which allows it but a 
short space to range. This bird, as we have already said, is called, in 
birdcatchers' language, a pcrcher. A circle of bird-lime is made just beyond 
its reach, and a cage with a chaffinch, accustomed to sing either in the shade 
or exposed, is placed under a neighbouring bush ; as soon as this last 
begins his song, which should be a natural one, not any learned in con- 
finement, the chaffinch that is to be procured darts from the tree like an 
arrow on the percher, which it mistakes for the songster, and remains fixed 
by the birdlime. This new prisoner will sing the same year if it is caught 
before Whitsuntide : if after, it will never sing, but will die, evidently from 
grief at being separated from its female and young ones. A birdcatcher, 
cruel as he is stupid, who, without the least reflection, only thinks of grati- 
fying his ridiculous passion for birdcatching, may in an hour deprive ten or 
twelve females of their beloved companions, their protectors, and numerous 
young ones of their father, purveyor, and support : such thoughtless cruelty 
is, alas ! only too common in Germany. As soon as the young chaffinches 
have left the nest, the birdcatchers are very active in discovering the places 
where at noon they are accustomed to drink ; there they set perches covered 
with birdlime, and by this means many of these little unwary creatures are 
taken. However little memory one of these birds may have, it is capable 
of learning a good song, and being more robust than those brought up from 
the nest, bird-dealers make a good deal of them. They collect a great 
many, being sure that some will succeed amongst them. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The first of these is undoubtedly the song of the 
bird ; but our amateurs are not less attentive to the different notes that 
express its passions and wants. The note of tenderness, and which is also 
thought to indicate a change of weather, is trif, trif : its call, or the rally- 
ing note it makes use of on its passage, and which so often draws it within 
the snares of our birdcatchers, is tak, 'iak, repeated several times ; the cry 
fink, fink, which it often repeats, and from which its German name is 
derived, appears, if we may so call it, to be mechanical and involuntary. 
But what makes it appear to still more advantage among other birds are its 
clear and trilling tones, that seem almost to approach to words ; in fact, its 
warbling is less a song than a kind of battement, to make use of a French 
word, and is expressed in German by the word schlag (trill), which is used 
to designate its song as well as the nightingale's. Some chaffinches have 
two, three, four, and even five different battemens, each consisting of seve- 
ral strains, and lasting several minutes. This bird is so great a favourite 
in Germany, that not a single tone of its voice has escaped the experienced 
ears of our bird-fanciers. They have observed its nicest shades, and are 
continually endeavouring to improve and perfect it. I confess I am myself 
one of its warmest admirers ; I have constantly around me the best song- 
sters of its species, and if I liked I could write a good sized volume on all 
*he details of its mu&ir;, but I will confine myself to that which bears most 
on this subject, 


The song of the chaffinch bearing an evident relation to articulate sounds, 
its has been thought to distinguish its different variations by the final syl- 
lable of the last strain. The most admired in Thuriugia are the following, 
which I shall give in their order, and in their different degrees of supe- 
riority. * 

1. The Double Trill of the Hartss in Lower Saxony is composed of six 
strains, rather long, the last of which is ended by dwelling on the two final 
syllables, which I shall express here by the word " weingek\" I doubt 
if ever a bird in its wild state has executed this so perfectly as I heard it 
at Ruhl and at my own house. Art has certainly created it. It is with 
difficulty that a chaffinch attains it, if, with the best abilities, it has not 
been instructed from its earliest youth. Rarely can it give it complete 
without leaving any part out. On this account a high price must be given 
for the little prodigy that sings it through, full, entire, and in all its strength. 

2. The Reiterzong; or rider's pull, first heard among the mineral 
mountains of Saxony and Voigtland, has been known but a short time in 
Thuringia. It may be heard from a chaffinch in its wild state, but those 
that have been instructed execute it in a fuller, stronger, and less precipi- 
tate manner. This song consists of four strains, the first of which com- 
mences in a high key, and gradually descends. When in perfection there 
is a cadenced pause before the two last syllables, which articulate tolerably 
clearly reitzing with a zap or clapping, as our amateurs express it. An 
amateur who has never heard the double trill of the Hartz would not 
believe that a chaffinch could sing in a superior manner to this ; however, 
in this, as in many other things, each has his taste. 

3 The Wine Song is divided into four kinds, 1. the fine, or Langsfeld 
wine song , is very beautiful, but little known except in two or three 

* A good deal of imagination may be supposed to be put forth in the translation 
of the song of these birds. An Englishman, a Frenchman, or an Italian would 
discover in it words in their own language which might express very different 
sounds. We shall not see with less pleasure here details that are entirely omitted 
in other works on birds. Some will admire, however far it may go, an ear exer- 
cised in discovering the shades, niceties, and, in fact, the beauties that delight it, 
whilst another would be scarcely struck with any difference. Strangers will no 
longer be surprised at the excessive passion these birds excite where they are stu- 
died with so much care. In England they are very little prized, and but seldom 

t Literally, " to go to the wine ;" pronounced vine-gay TRANSLATOR. 

% Ruhl is a large manufacturing village in Thuringia, the inhabitants of which, 
mostly cutlers, have such a passion for chaffinches that some have gone ninety miles 
from home to take with birdlime one of these birds distinguished by its song, and 
have given one of their cows for a fine songster ; from which has arisen their com- 
mon expression, such a chaffinch is worth a cow. A common workman will 
give a louis d'or (sixteen shillings) for a chaffinch he admires, and willingly live on 
bread and water to gain the money. An amateur cannot hear one that sings in a 
superior style (he double trill of the Hartz without being in an ecstasy. 1 have heard 
them say that one which sings this melody perfectly certainly can converse, from its 
pronouncing the syllables so distinctly. AUTHOR. 

Langsfeld, where this song was first discovered, is a large town in the district of 
Fulda, situated a short distance from the Werra, which at Munden takes the name 
of Weser, after its j unction with the Fulda AUTHOR. 


places in Thuringia. It is composed of four strains, and to be perfect 
ought to resemble a hautboy, the two last syllables articulating " weingeh." 
This song has never been heard from a wild chaffinch, but is one acciden- 
tally produced in the house, and endeavoured to be propagated by education. 
2. The bad wine song is not in itself disagreeable, but it is so named when 
compared with the former. It is composed of three strains, of which the 
penultimate ought to sound zap five times, and the two last syllables arti- 
culate " weingeh." When once a wild chaffinch has been heard to utter 
this in Germany it is not long ere it is caught. 3. The sharp wine song is not 
ended by "weingeh" but " weingieh." It is subdivided into the com- 
mon sharp, such as is sometimes heard in the woods, and the Ruhl sharp, 
which is an entirely artificial song, confined to Ruhl and a few other vil- 
lages of Thuringia. It has but two strains, of which the first syllables 
ought to sound as though flowing into each other, and the penultimate to 
have an accent. 

4. The Br'dutigam, or bridegroom song, is also divided into good and 
bad : the good is only heard in the house, and consists of two simple strains ; 
it begins piano, afterwards forte, and, continuing crescendo, ends in the 
most brilliant sound. After the double trill of the Hartz it appears to my 
ear the finest of all. The bad is occasionally heard in the woods, and ia 
composed of three strains ; but though not devoid of sweetness, does not 
please BO much as the former. 

5. The Double Trill is formed of two long strains, divided by a 
cadenced pause, which is named the shake. They distinguish, 1. the 
common, subdivided into four ; a, the strong, 6, the clear, c, the long, 
and d, the short. These are heard sometimes in the woods and 
orchards ; but chaffinches that sing a or b soon become the prey of our 
bird-catchers. 2. The double trill of lambach * ; this is only to be ac- 
quired in the house, and is so deep and powerful that one can scarcely 
conceive how the larynx of so small a bird can produce such sounds. It 
begins piano, and swelling its tones successively in crescendo, makes of the 
trilling a strain of five piercing tones, afterwards repeats " pfaff" four or 
five times, and ends by dwelling on t( Riididia.*' A chaffinch that pos- 
sesses this song, either alone, or united with the good bridegroom's song, 
such as are educated in lambach, sells here for eighteen French francs. 

6. The Gutjahr, or good year song, is so named from the two last 
syllables, and is also divided, 1. into the common, that has but two strains, 
of which the second ought to roll five times before articulating ( ' gutjahr." 
It is not uncommon in our woods. 2. The good year of the Hartz, which has 
been acquired in the house, and consists of two very singular strains, in 
my opinion not very agreeable. Chaffinches are very rare now which sing 
this, united to that of the wine song of Ruhl, or the sharp song, and their 
price is consequently high. They are rarely found but at Ersenach and 

* It is only eight years since this song was accidentally produced. A shoemaker of 
lambach had given a chaffinch that sung the double trill five young scholars, one of 
which struck out for itself this peculiar warbling. From this others were taught, so 
that amateurs may have the pleasure of hearing at home a song that is now in fashion, 
and pleases many amateurs. 


7. The Quakia song is so called from its last syllables, and is double 
or single, one with one strain, the other with two. This song was for- 
merly very much admired. It was heard in the woods and house, but it is 
now lost, as all the wild chaffinches that sung it have been taken, and those 
in confinement have been taught in preference the good wine song : I 
believe I possess the only bird that is now to be found which sings this. 
To be admired, the quakia must be united with the double trill. This 
my chaffinch sings also. 

*8. The Pithia or Trewethia, is a very uncommon and agreeable song, 
which is never heard but in the depths of the Thuringian mountains. 
The birdcatchers of the villages about the forests of Hesse seek for birds 
that possess it, and actively pursue the songsters. It is first a sonorous 
strain, followed by several repetitions of the word " zack." Some birds 
unite to it the common sharp wine song, and are more valued. The last 
syllables ought to sound '* trewidida" 

These eight varieties, or rather melodies, are those most thought of in 
Saxony and Hesse. I have said that some of them are heard in the woods ; 
but it "is very rarely that they are sung with so clear and strong a voice, or 
that they are so long and perfect. A chaffinch that knows only one of 
these varieties generally sings it slowly, and introduces a greater number of 
syllables. Its voice, in fact, executes it with more strength and depth ; if 
it adds to the last strain the sound "fink" which our birdcatchers trans- 
late by amen, it is of the highest value, no price will be taken for it. 

There are a dozen varieties in all ; but as they are not uncommon, and 
what are everywhere heard, they are less admired ; they have even been given 
in contempt the name of plain. 

One thing worth remarking is that the song of the chaffinch varies almost 
as much as the countries it inhabits. It is not the same in Thuringia as 
in the Hartz, and the taste of amateurs differs equally *. In Austria several 
named melodies are admired, but I have never heard them. 

The chaffinch has so great a facility in learning, that it not only imitates 
perfectly the song of another chaffinch near which it has been placed from 
youth, but being hung near a nightingale or canary it learns several parts of 
their songs, and wouldno doubt give them completely if its larynx were so 
formed that it could render notes so long and sustained ; in fine, a great 
difference in memory is observed in these birds, as well as in all others of 
the singing species. Some require six months to learn an air that others 
catch on first hearing, and can repeat almost immediately; these can 
scarcely retain one of the songs given above ; those can imitate three, 
four, and, should you wish it, five different ones. There are also some that 
cannot give one song without a fault, and we find others that will add to it, 
perfect it, and embellish it. 

One thing peculiar to chaffinches is the necessity of teaching them their 
song every year, and this in the manner proper for them, during the four or 
five weeks this exercise lasts. They first utter a murmur, or weak warb- 
ling, to which they add at first, in an under voice, one or two, and after- 
wards several syllables of their song ; they are then said to record. A 

* The notes of the wild chaffinches in this country are finer than any cage ones I 
have heard in Germany. TRANSLATOR. 


chaffinch that takes only a week or fortnight to repeat this lesson for fully 
bringing out its voice, is reckoned among the geniuses of its species. It is 
known that other birds whose power of singing is confined to a particular 
season, also warble feebly, and mingle with their warbling some foreign 
notes, especially harsh and confused sounds ; but none produce sounds so 
peculiar, and that have so little relation to their own song. If we pay a 
little attention, however, we shall find that this exercise is intended less to 
awaken the memory than to render the throat, stiffened by a tolerably 
long state of inaction, more pliant, and to bring back its natural flex, 

Wild chaffinches, on their return in spring, do not delay to record ; those 
in the house soon learn, but they are obliged to exercise themselves for 
nearly two months before they can execute their song to perfection. The 
singing season does not generally extend beyond June, but young chaffinches 
brought up in a room prolong it to October, and sometimes later. 

Some amateurs of the song, rather than friends of the bird, to procure 
the pleasure of hearing it night and day in all its strength, employ a very 
cruel and inhuman contrivance. They first place the cage in a very obscure 
place, and accustom the poor little creature to find its food in the dark ; 
they then blind it, either by destroying the pupils of the eyes with a red 
hot iron wire, or by passing it over the edges of the eyelids, unite and 
paste them completely together. 

Others shut up these poor mutilated creatures in a cool place, almost 
without air, during the summer, in order that when in autumn they are 
brought to the window, and breathe the fresh air, they may express their 
joy by their lively and repeated song. What can we think of the heart 
and morals of people who for a slight amusement thus enjoy the sufferings 
of a sensitive being that is unfortunately in their power? 


Fringilla montifringilla, LINNJEUS ; Le Pinson d'Ardenne, BUFPON ; Der Bergfink, 

THIS bird is six inches and a quarter in length, of which the 
tail measures two and a half and the beak half an inch ; this is 
yellow, with a black tip. The feet, nine lines high, are dark 
flesh-coloured; all the feathers of the head and cheeks are 
black with reddish edges, wider and more distinct in young 
males, and becoming fainter from age, almost disappear in old 
ones, whose heads become quite black ; the tail rather forked, 
and black. 

The colours of the female are more uniform ; she is brown 
where the male is black, and only a rusty colour where he 
is red. 


Independently of the varieties produced by age, and which 
are tolerably numerous, without being very remarkable, there 
are some more remarked, such as those with a white head, a 
back quite white, &c. 

HABITATION. In their -wild state this species is scattered throughout 
Europe; however, it is most probable that in the summer they only 
inhabit the northern parts. During the three other seasons they are found 
everywhere in Germany, particularly where there are large forests. When 
beech-mast is plentiful in Thuringia the mountain finches assemble in 
immense numbers, it is supposed more than 100,000. 

In the house they are kept in a cage or not, according as they arc 
esteemed ; where they are common they are not thought worthy of one, 
but allowed to range at will. 

FOOD. Wild, and in confinement, it is the same as the chaffinch's. 

MODE OF TAKING. This bird's note of call is 'iak, i'afc, quaak, and as 
the two first sounds are the same as that of the chaffinch, they will come 
at its call, and fly in its company. They also afford the best sport with a 
net, for in autumn hundreds may be taken at, one cast. In winter they are 
caught near barns under nets, or even under common sieves ; and in spring 
on a decoy bush, at the call of the chaffinch, if one of its own species cannot 
be procured. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES We cannot boast of sweetness in the song of 

this bird, as it consists of low whistling, or a kind of warbling, intermixed 
at intervals with a shrill " raitch," the whole somewhat resembling the 
first exercises of the chaffinch ; but this wretched warbling may be im- 
proved by education. A mountain finch placed by the side of a chaffinch 
that sung Avell, learnt to imitate it tolerably, but I must confess that it 
never attained great perfection. I should warn bird-fanciers who wish to 
keep these birds for the beauty of their plumage, not to let them range with 
many companions, for they are quarrelsome, and very lavish in distributing 
severe pecks, especially if food is not very abundant. In Thuringia they 
are kept in cages to be employed as lures in the area or decoy enclosure. 
It is said that it is easier to teach them to go and come than the chaffinch. 


Passer domestica, RAY ; Le Moineou franc, BUFFON ; Dor Haussperling, 

THOUGH this and the following species cannot be reckoned 
among those that are pleasant in a room, yet I must not omit 
them on account of their being easily preserved, and though 
distinguished neither for their song nor their colours, yet they 
make up for the want of these by agreeable qualities, that many, 
much more admired, do not possess. 


It is almost superfluous to describe a species so well known. 
The total length is five inches and three quarters ; the beak 
thick and blue black ; the feet greyish brown ; the top of the 
head and cheeks greyish ash-coloured with a broad chestnut 
streak behind the eyes, elsewhere surrounded with black. 

The female differs a good deal, the upper part, of the body 
being greyish red, spotted with black on the back, and the 
under part of a dusky greyish white. 

The young males before their first moulting very much 
resemble their mothers. 

The varieties known here are the white, the yellow, the 
tawny, the black, the blue, the ash-coloured, and the streaked. 

HABITATION In its wild state, it haunts the vicinity of houses ; when 

confined, it is allowed to range the room. 

FOOD. If, unfortunately, it is too true that the sparrows cause great 
injury in ripe fields of wheat, barley, and peas, it must be acknowledged 
that they are very useful in our orchards and gardens, by destroying, in the 
spring, thousands of insects, on which they feed their young ones as well as 
themselves *. In the house, they feed on any kind of food : oats, hemp 
seed, or rape seed. 

BREEDING. Small openings under the tiles, crevices in walls, empty 
martin's nests, are the places they appropriate for breeding, and they line 
their nest thickly with feathers. The female has two or three broods every 
season, and has from five to seven young ones at a time. 

MODE OF TAKING Sparrows are so cunning that it is difficult to attract 
them within the net or on lime twigs. They may be caught in numbers 
however on the brambles in a field where sheep are kept, by sticking plenty 
of birdlime about them. They may be taken also by placing a net before those 
that have retired to cherry trees and under the tiles to sleep for the night. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The bird-fancier who enjoys seeing several 
birds running about the room, will, with pleasure, admit the sparrow among 
them, and may amuse himself especially by observing it breed and produce 
mules with the hen tree-sparrow. A jar or cup placed in a corner will 
serve as their nuptial bed. A male tree- sparrow with a hen sparrow does 
not succeed. 

The sparrow may be easily taught to go and come at command, by choos- 
ing winter as the time to effect it. It is necessary first to keep it a month 
near the window in a large cage supplied with the best food, such as millet, 
meal, or white bread soaked in milk. It will even go there to deposit its 
eggs if a small box is placed in the cage, with an opening for it to enter 

* The destruction of the sparrows has been so great an evil in the countries where 
the government had ordered it, that it has been found necessary to rescind the order. 
The injury they do to the corn is something certainly, but it may be exaggerated 
besides,ought not these useful creatures to be paid ? TRANSLATOR. 


at. Finally, no bird becomes more familiar, or testifies more attachment 
to its master. Its actions are very lively, confiding, and delicate. A 
soldier, says Buffon, had a sparrow which followed him every where, and 
knew him in the midst of the regiment. 


Passer montana, RAY ; Friquet, ou Moineau des haies, BUFFON ; Der Feldsperling, 

THIS species is more beautiful than the preceding. In length 
it is five inches and a half ; the beak is dusky; the feet are 
bluish flesh-coloured ; the upper part of the head as far as the 
nape of the neck is reddish brown ; the cheeks are white with 
a black spot ; a white ring surrounds the neck ; the back is 
spotted with black and red ; the lower part of the back and 
the rump are grey brown ; the throat white, the breast light 
ash-coloured ; the belly dusky white ; the quill feathers and 
tail are dark brown; the lesser wing-coverts rust-red; the 
greater, black with red edges and white tips, which form two 
transverse bars. 

Two varieties are known, the white and streaked. 

HABITATION. In their wild state, they are not only found throughout 
Europe, but also in the north of Asia and America. In Germany and 
England it is not so common as the house sparrow, for in some provinces 
it is never seen. It frequents gardens, orchards, and fields abounding with 
trees and hedges. In September, large flights are seen to fall upon the ripe 
fields of barley and oats. 

In the house it is let run about like the former, which it does very 
awkwardly from having short legs, and this gives it the appearance of drag- 
ging along on its belly. It is only kept in a cage in countries where it is 
very rare. 

Foon This is the same as that of the preceding. 

BREEDING The nest must be sought in the holes of fruit trees, or in 

hollow willows at the water's edge ; it breeds twice in the year. 

MODE OF TAKING This is the same as the preceding; but being less 
distrustful and cunning, it is easily enticed under a sieve placed before a 
barn in winter. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its plumage is prettier than the preceding, its 
song is also less short and monotonous ; but it is weak, and when it might 
be sweet, it is lost among the other songs in the room. The tree sparrow 
might be accustomed in the country to go and come at command by treat- 
ing it in the manner described with respect to the house sparrow. It is 
more difficult to preserve it, and it generally dies of decline. 


Fnngilla cannabina, LINN^US ; La Lmottc, BUFFON ; Der Lanning, BECHSTEIN 

THE length of this well-known bird is more than five inches, 
of which the tail measures two inches and a half. The beak, 
six lines long, is dusky blue in summer, and in winter greyish 
white, with the point brown ; the iris dark brown ; the feet, 
eight lines high, are black. There are some very striking 
varieties produced by the season and age in the plumage of the 
male, which are not observed in the female, and these have 
caused great confusion in works on birds, so much, that bird- 
catchers are still persuaded these birds, in a different dress, are 
distinct species 

Instructed by long experience and the observations of many 
years, I hope to show in my description that our common 
linnet (Fringilla Linota, Linnaeus), the greater redpole (Frin- 
gilla cannabina, Linnaeus), and, according to all appearance, the 
mountain linnet (Fringilla montana, Linnaeus), are one and the 
same species. A male three years old or less, is distinguished 
in spring by the following colours, and by the name of redpole. 
The forehead is blood red, the rest of the head reddish ash- 


coloured, the top rather spotted with black ; the cheek, sides of 
the neck, and the circle round the eyes, have a reddish white 
tint ; the feathers of the back are chestnut with the edges 
lighter ; the upper tail -co verts are black edged with reddish 
white ; the throat and under part of the neck are yellowish 
white, with some dashes of reddish grey ; the sides of the breast 
are blood red edged with reddish white, the sides of the belly 
are pale rust-coloured ; the rest of the under part of the body 
is reddish white ; the greater wing coverts are black, bordered 
with reddish white, the others are rusty brown with a lighter 
border. The quill-feathers are black tipped with white, the 
first are edged with white nearly to the point, the narrow 
beard forms a parallel white streak to the quill-feathers ; the 
tail is black and forked, the four outer feathers on both sides 
have a broad white border, that of the two middle feathers is 
narrower, and reddish white. 

After moulting, in autumn, little red is seen on the forehead, 
because the feathers become coloured from the bottom to the 
top ; the breast has not yet acquired its red tint, for the white 
border is still too wide ; but when winter comes its colours 

Males one year old have no red on the head, and more 
dashes of black : the breast is pale red waved with pale and 
dark, the under part of the feathers on the breast is only a 
bright reddish grey brown, the edges of these feathers are of a 
reddish white ; the back rust-colour has some detached spots of 
dark brown and reddish white. These birds are known under 
the name of grey linnets. 

After the second moulting, if the reddish grey feathers are 
blown, aside, blood red specks may be discovered on the fore- 
head, and the red of the breast is only hidden by the wide 
yellowish white borders to the feathers ; these are the yellow 
linnets, or the rock linnets, as they are called in Thuringia. 

I have myself taken linnets whose foreheads and breasts 
have been bright reddish yellow instead of blood red, a colour, 
in fact, that sometimes, in the house, becomes blood red. 
Bird-catchers give these also the name of yellow linnets. It 
is a deterioration of the red caused by illness during moulting, 
or by old age, and they are not wrong in regarding them as the 
best and the finest singers. I have taken several, but on 


account of their scarcity, I have always kept them for myself. 
Their song was very fine and clear, but they cannot be tamed, 
and have generally died soon of sorrow and melancholy, from 
which I conclude that they were very old. 

Besides these three different varieties of plumage of the 
males, there are several clouded, produced by the seasons and 
old age ; for instance, the older they become, the redder the 
head is. I have in my cabinet all the gradations of this 
change. Birds brought up in the house never acquire the fine 
red on the forehead and breast, but remain grey like the males 
of one year old ; on the other hand, old ones, red when brought 
into the house, lose their beautiful colours at the first moult- 
ing, and remaining grey like the young ones, are no more than 
grey linnets. 

This difference of colour does not take place in the females, 
which are smaller than the males ; the upper part of the body 
is grey streaked with dusky brown and yellowish white, on 
the rump with greyish brown and reddish white ; these spots 
are more numerous on the breast ; the wing-coverts are a 
dusky chestnut. The females are distinguished in the nest by 
the back being more grey than brown, and by the number of 
streaks on the breast, which resembles that of the lark ; bird- 
fanciers leave these in the nest and take only the males. 

HABITATION. In its wild state the linnets are spread throughout Eu- 
rope. In the summer they frequent the skirts of large forests, thickets, 
hedges, and bushes, particularly furze ; but as soon as September arrives, 
they pass in large flights to the fields. They are wandering birds, that in 
winter go hither and thither seeking food in places free from snow, but in 
March they return to their native places. 

In confinement it is best to keep them in square cages, as they are less 
subject to giddiness in these than in round ones, and sing better. They are 
not often allowed to range the room, as they are very indolent, remaining 
immoveable in the same place, and running the risk of being trodden on ; 
but if a small tree or a roost be placed in a corner, they may be let out of 
the cage with safety, as they will remain perched there, only leaving it to 
eat or drink, and will sing all day long. 

FOOD. When wild, their food is all kinds of seeds that they can shell, 
and these remain in the crop some time to be moistened before passing 
into the stomach. In the house, it is only summer rape seed,* which 
need not be soaked in water for them, as for the chaffinch, since, having a 

* It is known from experience that winter rape seed, which is not hurtful to them 
in a wild state, will soon kill them if they are fed on it in the house. AUTHOR. 


much stronger crop and stomach, they can digest much better. It is not 
necessary always to give them hemp seed with it, and they must not be 
fed abundantly, for taking little exercise, they easily become fat, and some- 
times die from this cause ; but a liftle salt mixed with their food is useful, 
as it preserves them from many diseases, and they like it. When linnets 
are allowed to run about, they will feed with the other birds on the com- 
mon universal paste ; but they must be given green vegetables, water, and 
sand, as they are very fond of bathing and dusting themselves. 

BREEDING Linnets have two broods in the year. They lay from four 

to six eggs for each, of a bluish white, speckled with reddish brown, espe- 
cially at the large end. Their nest placed in a hedge, a white or black- 
thorn, or, if in a country where they are common, on a vine, or a furze 
bush, is composed of small twigs, dried grass and moss, and lined with 
wool, the hair of horses, and other animals. The parent birds feed their 
young ones, from their beaks, and do not discontinue it if prisoners in the 
same cage. If the young ones are to be taught a new song, they must be 
taken from the nest when the shafts of the feathers are just appearing, that 
they may have no idea of their parents' song. The males may be easily 
distinguished by their white collar, and from having the most white about 
the wings and tail. 

DISEASES. The most common disorders of this species are constipation, 
atrophy, and epilepsy. A linnet, however, will, in general, live from ten 
to twelve years in the house. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds are distrustful and suspicious, and, 
notwithstanding decoys and perching birds, it is very difficult to entice 
them within the decoy or area, and never many together. In the spring, 
by means of a good decoy-bird, a few may be taken on a decoy-bush. In 
the autumn, by fastening snares or lime twigs to the stalks of lettuces, of 
the seeds of which the linnets are very fond, several may be taken. Our 
shepherds turn and support the cribs, used to feed the sheep from, in such 
a manner, that the linnets, coming to gather the grains of salt, easily over- 
turn them on themselves. The call of the linnet is " g acker." 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The agreeable, brilliant, and flute-like song of 
the linnet, consists of several strains, succeeding each other very harmoni- 
ously. Our amateurs consider its beauty to depend on there being often 
mingled with it some acute and sonorous tones, that a little resemble the 
crowing of a cock, and have made people say that this bird crows. Its 
song is only interrupted during the year by moulting. A young one taken 
from the nest, which may be easily brought up on a mixture of the wetted 
crumb of white bread, soaked rape seed, and eggs boiled hard, not only 
learns the songs of different birds that it hears in the room, such as nightin- 
gales, larks, and chaffinches, but if kept by itself, airs and melodies that 
are whistled to it, and will even learn to repeat some words. Of all house 
birds, this, from the softness and flute-like sound of its voice, gives the airs 
that it is taught in the neatest and most agreeable manner. It is also one 
of those that pay best ; some here cost from three to five rix-dollars when 
they can warble an air preceded and followed by a grand flourish as of 
trumpets. The weavers and shoemakers often bring up many of these 


birds. It is very pleasing and surprising to hear a young linnet that is well 
taught by a nightingale. I have one, whose imitations are as perfect as 
possible. It amuses me throughout the year, but especially when my night- 
ingales are silent. 

Linnets may be accustomed to go and come at command, by treating 
them in their youth, or in the winter, as I have directed for the house- 
sparrow ; but as they are more timid, it is necessary to be more careful. 

It is common for a male linnet to pair with a hen canary, and their pro- 
geny can scarcely be distinguished from the grey canary. They sing delight- 
fully, and learn different airs with great facility. 

It is well known, that among linnets, some are finer warblers than 
others, and that, as with many other birds, the old ones sing better than 
the young ; on which account, yellow linnets, being the oldest, are the 
most valued. 


Fringilla Linaria, LINN^US ; Le Sizeriu, ou Petite Liaotte des Vignes, BUPFON : 
Der Flachsfink, BECHSTEIN. 

IN its plumage this bird resembles the linnet; but in its 
actions and shape it more resembles the siskin. It is five inches 
and one quarter in length, of which the tail measures two and 
one quarter ; the beak, four lines long, is very sharp and yel- 
low ; its shanks, eight lines high, are black ; the top of the 
head is a brilliant crimson ; the upper part of the body is dark 
brown, spotted with white and rust yellow ; the rump is rose- 
coloured ; the throat black ; the feathers on the under part of 
the neck and breast are bright rose-coloured, edged with white ; 
the rest of the under part is white. The plumage of the fe- 
male is lighter ; the breast is not rose-coloured, except that 
when very old it acquires a slight tint, as well as the rump ; 
the upper part of the body is spotted with white and deep 
brown, and the breast is rather speckled with the same colours. 
The latter characteristics serve to distinguish the females from 
young males, that also are without the rose-colour on the 
breast, but have the rust-coloured and dark brown back of the 
older birds. The males, confined to the house, lose, at the 
first moulting, the fine rose-coloured breast, and, at the second, 
the crimson of the head, which generally changes to a greenish 
yellow. I have a male bird, the top of whose head became, at 


the third moulting, of a fine golden yellow, and has retained 
its brilliancy for six years. 

HABITATION. In its wild state the lesser redpole is found in every part 
of Europe ; yet we must consider the north as its native home, Scotland, 
Sweden, Lapland, Norway, and Greenland. Great flights arrive amongst us 
at the end of October, and leave us in March and April. In winter, they 
frequent places planted with alders, the seeds of which they appear very 
fond of. They are principally found in company with siskins. 

In the house, it shows off its heautiful plumage, which, alas ! does not 
retain that heauty long, it is often placed in a pretty cage, but most com- 
monly allowed to range through a room. 

FOOD. When at liberty, the seed of the alder is what these birds seek 
most eagerly ; but they do not despise the seeds of flax, hemp, and even 
fir, and many other kinds. Being entirely grain-eating birds, their crop 
has the power of softening the food before it passes into the stomach. 

In the house, if in a cage, they eat poppy, rape, and hemp seed ; when 
at large, the first universal paste. 

BREEDING. Occasionally a few stragglers breed -with us, but this is rare. 

DISEASES. The disorders of this species are the same as those of the 
siskin ; but their feet are oftener diseased, and the toes skin off one after the 
other. They may be kept from eight to ten years. 

MODE OF TAKING. In the spring and autumn, the lesser redpoles may 
be taken in flocks in the area, or barn-floor trap, with a decoy of their own 
species, or even with a siskin. Many may also be caught with such a de- 
coy on a decoy-bush. They are so silly, or so confiding, that they will 
even allow themselves to be taken close by the bird-catcher, who is col- 
lecting their entrapped companions. This stupidity, or simplicity, is com- 
mon in all birds that come from the more remote northern parts. Brought 
up far from man, and out of reach of his pursuit, they know not that fear 
and distrust which is felt by those that inhabit populous countries. Their 
call is " peweef' and " crec, creek hewid." 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The lesser redpole pleases the eye more than 
the ear ; its feeble warbling being only, if I may thus express it, a low 
continued clicking. It may be taught to draw water more easily than the 
goldfinch, and it will also learn many other little manoauvres, for it be- 
comes very familiar, and will eat as soon as it is let loose after its capture. 
The mutual tenderness of the male and female is very pleasing. They are 
continually caressing each other with their bills, and even do the same to 
siskins, linnets, goldfinches, and canaries, from which it appears very likely 
that they would pair with these birds. 


Fringilla Carduelis, LINNAEUS; Le Chardonneret, BUFFON; Der Distelfink, 

" BEAUTY of plumage," says Buffon, " softness of voice, 
quickness of instinct, remarkable cleverness, proved docility, 
tender affection, are all united in this delightful little bird ; 
and if it were rare, or if it came from a foreign country, it 
would then be valued as it deserves." It is five inches and 
three quarters in length, of which the tail measures two. The 
beak, five lines long, very pointed, and rather flattish at the 
sides, is whitish, with the point horn-coloured. The shanks, 
six lines high, are delicate and brownish. The front of the 
head is a fine crimson, sometimes scarlet ; a wide border of the 
same colour surrounds the under base of the beak ; the bridle, 
as it is called, is black ; the top of the head is black, which 
colour extends downwards, from the nape on each side, dividing 
the white on the cheeks from the white spot on the hinder part 
of the neck ; the under part of the neck is white ; the hinder 
part and the back are fine brown. 

The female is rather smaller, and has not so much red round 
the bill ; the bridle is brownish ; the cheeks are mixed with 
light brown ; the lesser whig coverts are brown ; the back 
dark brown. The size, or the want of some white spots at the 
tips of the feathers, do not serve to distinguished the male from 
the female, as some bird-catchers say ; nor ought we either to 
imagine that the size or number of these spots constitute dif- 
ferent varieties; for all these distinctions are accidental, and 
depend on physical strength and age. Our bird-catchers think 
the large ones that are nearly the shape of the greater redpole 


form a distinct species, and they give them the name of Fir 
Goldfinches, because they say they always build in fir forests. 
Those that do not exceed the size of the redbreast, they call 
Orchard Goldfinches, because they suppose they always build 
in orchards. But these differences and pretences are imaginary, 
because both are found of different sizes, the orchard goldfinch 
large, and the fir, or wood goldfinch, quite small. The young 
ones that are hatched first are always stronger and larger than 
those hatched last, because they often carry off the food in- 
tended for the latter, and, therefore, being better fed, they be- 
come larger and stronger. This is sufficient to explain the 
difference of size in different individuals of the same species. 

The folio whig varieties are better established : 1 . The 
goldfinch, with a yellow breast ; 2. With a white head ; 3. 
With the head black four young ones of this variety were 
found in the same nest ; 4. The white goldfinch ; 5. And the 
black goldfinch, this being either entirely black, which often 
happens in a cage, from giving it too much hemp seed, or from 
old age ; or it only retains the yellow spot on the wings, w T hich 
is also occasioned by captivity. M. Schilbach, superintendant 
of the menagerie of Cassel, tried an experiment on a whole 
brood. He deprived the birds of the light of the sun, even 
covered the cage with a piece of cloth, and, by these means, 
obtained very black goldfinches, -with only the yellow spot on 
the wings ; but they changed colour after moulting. TJiose in 
which the black does not change are very old. It is, in fact, 
a sign of approaching death. 

HABITATION. In their wild state goldfinches are found in all parts of 
Europe, frequenting orchards, hrambles, thickets, and mountainous dis- 
tricts, interspersed with wood and fields, during the summer. These 
birds are stationary, not changing their haunts in winter; they merely 
assemble in the autumn in families, or rather in little flocks of fifteen or 
twenty, seeking here and there places abounding in thistles, and only 
when the snow becomes too deep leaving such localities for others more 

In the house, if kept in a cage, this should be a square one, because 
these birds do not like hopping about the upper part, as they would be 
forced to do, if in a bell-shaped cage, and also inclined to swing round. 
When they run on the floor they should be given a small artificial tree for 
a roost ; for they like to perch on this whilst singing as well as sleeping. 

FOOD. Their food, when wild, consists of all kinds of small seeds, euch 
as lettuce, goats'-beard, scorzonera, thistle, radish, and canary seed. 


With us, in the house, they are principally fed on poppy, hemp seed, 
properly varied with lettuce, rape, and canary seed. If allowed to range, 
the second universal paste agrees very well with them. I have a goldfinch, 
which appears in good health, and eats not only of all the vegetables brought 
to table, but also meat, though, in their wild state, these birds never touch 
insects *. They must have green food occasionally, such as chick-weed, 
water- cresses, lettuce, or endive. These birds feed largely, when loose in 
the room, rarely leaving the food- dish, and driving off, if they can, with 
loud cries, any of their companions who wish to approach. They will allow 
those birds, however, to feed peaceably with them, that bear some analogy 
to their species, at least, in the nature of the stomach, such as the canary, 
siskin, and especially the lesser redpole, without distinction of male or female. 

BREEDING The goldfinch prefers building in large orchards, at the tops 

cf trees, on weak and terminal branches. It makes the most beautiful nest 
of any of our birds, except the chaffinch, it being finely rounded, very 
elegant and firm. The outer part is constructed of fine moss, lichens, 
stalks of grass, and slender twigs ; the whole being interwoven with the 
greatest nicety. The interior is lined with wool, horse-hair, and the 
cotton or down of the thistle ), or willow. The female has rarely more 
than one brood in the year, unless she has been disturbed, and, in this case, 
the number of eggs is always diminished ; on this account goldfinches never 
appear to increase in number. On a sea-green ground, the eggs have pale 
red spots and speckles, mingled with streaks of reddish black, which often 
form a circle at the large end. The parent birds disgorge the food into the 
young ones' throats. Before the first moulting the heads of the young 
birds are grey. If it is only wished to take male birds from the nest, all 
that have a whitish ring round the root of the beak, must be left. They 
must be brought up on poppy-seed and the crumb of white bread, soaked in 
milk or water. Of all the natural songs of birds, they imitate most easily 
and perfectly that of the canary ; they also pair with the canary, and pro- 
duce together fruitful young ones. For this purpose, a male goldfinch is 
paired with one or two female canaries, which succeeds better than by 
placing a male canary with a female goldfinch ; the former being more 
amorous, most favours this union, particularly if educated from youth. The 
fruit of this union are not less distinguished for the beauty of their plumage, 
often yellow, with the head, wings, and tail, of the goldfinch, than for the 
sweetness of their song, whether natural or acquired. 

If you are afraid that a pair of canaries you value, may not hatch their 
eggs as you wish, place them in the nest of a goldfinch in your orchard, and 
you may be certain that they will be properly matured, and the young ones 
brought up in the best manner. When they are ready to fly, place them 
in a cage, and suspend it by the side of the nest till they can feed them- 
selves. By this means you will have no trouble with their education. 

* We read in Buffon, that the Goldfinch feeds its young with caterpillars ; this is 
not natural to the species, since we find farther on, that the parent birds disgorge the 
food into the crop of their little ones, and do not merely place it in the beak as thosa 
birds do that feed their young on caterpillars and other insects. TRANSLATOR. 

t This is a mistake. See Architecture of Birds, p. 268. 



DISEASES. Epilepsy is one of the commonest disorders of this bird. If 
the eyes are weak and swollen, anoint them with fresh butter. Stupor and 
giddiness being very properly attributed to too great a use of hemp seed, it 
is best to suppress it entirely, and supply its place with the seed of lettuce 
and thistles. This latter is so beneficial, that it would be well to give them, 
from time to time, a head to pluck the seeds for themselves. 

Old age makes them blind, and deprives them of their beautiful colours ; 
yet, notwithstanding all the evils with which they are afflicted, in a cage a 
goldfinch has been known to live sixteen years, and even twenty, or twenty- 
four years. 

MODE OF TAKING In spring these birds are taken on a lure bush, with 
a decoy bird of their own species. They will also enter the area, or barn- 
floor trap, with chaffinches, if bundles of thistles are placed there ; but it is 
not without difficulty, for they are very watchful to avoid nets and lime- 
twigs. In the winter, by building up bundles of thistles, and placing snares 
and traps on them, several may be caught ; but in autumn and spring 
lime-twigs should be placed on them in preference. It is a still better 
plan to place bundles of thistles in a tree stuck about with lime-twigs. The 
goldfinch's call is " tziflit" or "' sticlit," which is its name in Bohemia. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The goldfinch is a very beautiful, lively, 
active bird, always in motion, and turning continually to the right and left. 
Its agreeable song, which is only discontinued during moulting, is a mixture 
of tones and harmonies, more or less dwelt upon, and the oftener the sound 
"fink" is introduced the more it is admired amongst us. There are some 
goldfinches that utter it only once or twice in their strains, whilst others 
will repeat it four or five times following. This species learn with difficulty 
to repeat airs from the flageolet, or other birds' songs, and in this respect 
is inferior to canaries and linnets ; but it is remarkable for its docility. 
Goldfinches have been seen to let off a small cannon, and imitate death. 
When properly instructed they will draw up their food and water. They 
are taught this by means of a chain or pulley, furnished with a soft leather 
band, two lines wide, pierced with four holes, through which the wings and 
feet are to be passed ; the two ends meeting under the belly, and are re- 
tained there by a ring, to which is fastened the chain that supports the 
bucket containing the water or food. Whenever the little waterman wants 
either, he draws up the chain with his beak, fixing it at intervals with his 
foot, and thus succeeds in obtaining what he wishes ; but if his little buckets 
are suspended to a pulley, raising one makes the other descend, and he can 
only enjoy his food and water in turn. 

I have also seen goldfinches and siskins, placed in different cages, that 
have little bells fixed to the seed drawer in such a way that the bird cannot 
take its food without ringing them ; the bells being harmonised, tolerably 
agreeable chimes are produced, but one is soon tired of such trifles. 

The goldfinch is taught to go and come at command, without any danger 
of losing it, much sooner than the linnet, though the latter learns quite as 
soon to build in the room. To accomplish this feat the winter should be 
chosen, and the cage, containing a goldfinch that has not been rendered 
tender by having been too long accustomed to the heat of the room, must 
be placed on the outside of the window every day, or on a shelf intended 
for it, and where the mice cannot reach it. Hemp seed must be scattered 


round, and a bunch of thistle heads fastened by the side, the seeds of which 
should be mixed with the hemp seed. Presently one or more goldfinches, 
attracted by the call of the prisoner, collect, to take advantage of the 
scattered food ; as soon as you have succeeded so far it is useless to let the 
decoy remain any longer exposed to the cold, which may injure it. It will 
be quite sufficient to place the cage within the window, and to put on the 
outside a cage as a trap, not for the sake of catching these birds, but to scare 
away the sparrows, that would soon eat up all the seed unless thus pre- 
vented ; and in order that the trap may only close when you wish, the 
door should be supported by a string, passing into the room, and loosened, 
to catch the sparrows, but the goldfinches should be allowed to go in and 
out at pleasure, till the snow is on the point of disappearing, then close the 
trap on those you wish to keep : the birds thus captured should be placed 
in a cage, where they will soon grow tame, and learn to go and return to 
it. Whatever form this cage is of, the door should be hung so as to remain 
open as long as is required, and be closed without noise^ or alarming the 
bird, either by means of a spring, that maybe acted on by the bird, without 
his perceiving it, or by his pushing the door of it open on the inside. When 
a goldfinch has been thus trained it may be let fly without fear the following 
August, at the time of moulting. It is true that it will be lost for eome 
time, but it will not fail to return in December, when the ground is covered 
with snow, and it will sing much more sweetly than it would had it been 
kept prisoner. As soon as it has flown, a cage should constantly be hung 
outside the window, and seeds placed in it, that, if it should chance to 
return, it may find food ; but it is rarely seen again till winter : at that 
time the cage should be so arranged that the door may be closed as soon as 
the bird enters, as it used to do in the room ; the surest way is to attract 
it by a call bird. It must not be allowed to come out so often as before, 
and it will remain, without injury, shut up till the season arrives for giving 
it its liberty again. The same course maybe pursued for the tit, and with 
still more success for the chaffinch, which does not enter the snares of the 
bird-catcher as easily as the others. If it is feared that it may be caught 
in a neighbouring area or barn-floor trap, it may be frightened from this 
snare in future, by stretching a net once, in the orchard or garden near. 
The greenfinch is the best for this manoeuvre, as it is extremely fond of 
hemp seed, is more rarely taken, and returns less wild than the chaffinch. 
The birds that enjoy their liberty in the summer sing more finely than 
without this advantage, and, what is almost incredible, though taken to a 
distance of several leagues, they have always found their master's house 
again *. 

* After having shown the skill and docility of the goldfinch, we cannot end our 

praise of the bird better than by giving an instance of his attachment. Mad 

had one that never saw her go out without making eyery effort in his power to quit 
his cage and follow her, and welcomed her return with every mark of extreme 
delight ; as soon as she approached, a thousand little actions showed his pleasure and 
satisfaction : if she presented her finger, he caressed it a long time, uttering a low 
joyous murmur. This attachment was so exclusive that if his mistress, to prove it, 
substituted another person's finger for her own, he would peck it sharply, whilst one 
of his mistress's, placed between two of this person's, would be immediately distin- 
guished, and caressed accordingly TRANSLATOR. 

Fringilla Spinus, LINN/EUS ; Le Tariu, BUTTON ; Der Zeisig, BECHSTKIN. 

THIS bird is four inches and three quarters iu length, of 
which the tail measures one and three quarters. The beak, 
four lines long, becomes narrower towards the tip, which is 
very sharp and brown ; the rest is light grey, and in winter 
white. The shanks, eight lines in height, are dusky ; the top 
of the head and throat are black ; the cheeks, the back of the 
neck, and back are green ; the latter streaked with a dusky 
colour ; the rump, breast, under part of the neck, and the line 
that passes over the eyes, are greenish yellow. 

The throat of the male rarely becomes black till the second 
year ; the older it becomes the more of yellow and beauty it 


The varieties are the black siskin, the white siskin, and the 
speckled siskin. I have occasionally killed these birds with a 
breast entirely black. 

HABITATION. In its wild state it is found throughout Europe ; it is very 
common in Germany, where it remains all the year *, but in winter it 
wanders about in search of food, and most frequents the parts well planted 
with alders. In the house, whether in a cage or not, it soon becomes very 

POOD When wild it varies according to the season ; in summer it eats 

in the woods the seeds of the pine and fir ; in autumn, of hops, thistles, 
burdock ; in winter, of the alder and the buds of trees. 

In.the house its food is poppy.seed and a little hemp-seed bruised. If 
allowed to range, the first universal paste suits it. It is a complete glutton, 
and, though so small, eats more than the chaffinch ; it is at the seed drawer 
from morning till night, constantly eating, and driving off all its com- 
panions. It does not drink less, and requires abundance of fresh water ; 
yet it bathes but little, only plunging the beak in the water, and thus 
scattering it over its feathers, but it is very assiduous in arranging them ; 
it may be called a fop, always engaged with finery. 

BREEDING. The siskin rarely builds its nest among the alders, but 
generally in the pine forests, placing it at the extremity of the highest 
branches, and fixing it there with cobwebs, the threads of insects and lichens. 
The outer part is well formed of small twigs, and the lining is formed of 
finely divided roots. It has two broods in the year, each of five or six 
eggs, of a light grey, strongly spotted with purplish brown, particularly at 
the large end. The young males become finer each year till the 

The mules, produced by the siskin pairing with the canary, partake of 
the two species, and are very prettily spotted if the canary is yellow ; but 
this union is not so easy as that with the green canary, which appears to 
bear a nearer relation to the siskin. 

DISEASES. To the other maladies common to the birds of this family we 
must add epilepsy, of which these birds often die y. They may, however, 
be kept from eight to twelve years. 

MODE OF TAKING. With good traps and nets made for this purpose, 
several dozen of these birds may be taken at once in the winter. They also 
collect in numbers, in the spring, on the decoy bush, and they are so fear- 
less, that in the villages a person, who has his house situated near a stream 
bordered with alders, need only place a siskin in the window, near a stick 
covered with bird-lime, and he may catch as many as he wishes. I have 

* It only comes to England during winter. TRANSLATOR. 

t It is not so often of epilepsy, and fat, that male birds die, as for the want of 
pairing. Perhaps this may be increased, thoughtlessly, by too heating and too 
succulent food. However this may be, if a male that has died thus in spring be 
dissected, its reproductive organs will be found exceedingly swelled. It can only be 
preserved by giving at the time refreshing and moderate food. Boiled bread and 
milk is very useful. TRANSLATOR. 


caught some at my window in a cage strewed with hemp and poppy-seed, 
by letting the door falUby means of a- string, when the birds had entered, 
one of the decoy birds in my room serving to attract them. "When the 
place where they drink at noon is discovered amongst the alders, numbers 
may be caught by merely laying across the stream some branches covered 
with bird-lime. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Their plumage and song are both attractive, 
though with the latter several tones are mingled, that somewhat resemble 
the noise made by a stocking-loom. This makes them great favourites 
with stocking-weavers. They imitate tolerably the song of other birds, 
such as that of the tit, the chaffinch, and the lark ; but they cannot give a 
musical air. Their carolling is only interrupted during moulting, and very 
much tends to excite their companions to warble in their turn. The loss 
of their liberty affects them so little, that they will eat as soon as let out of 
the hand, after being caught, and on the second day will allow any one to 
approach their cage without alarm. They are soon taught to draw up little 
buckets, and many other little manoeuvres that they execute gaily ; there is 
no difficulty in accustoming them to go and return if the winter is chosen ; 
the cage should be kept open at the window, and hemp and poppy-seed 
scattered at the entrance ; they will return there in general, and bring 
several companions with them. This plan will not succeed so well in 
March, September, and October, the time when these birds roam through 
the country in search of food, though I have seen some tamed in this 
manner return after a long absence. 


Fringilla petronia, LINNAEUS ; La Soulci, BUFFON ; Der Graufink, BECHSTEJN. 

INDEPENDENTLY of the beak, this bird may be taken for a 
female yellowhammer, as it resembles it so much in its shape 
and plumage. Its length is five inches three-quarters, of 
which the tail measures two. The beak, five lines long, is 
thick at the base, grey brown above, and white below. The 
feet, ten lines high, are grey brown ; the whole head is of a 
reddish ash-colour, but a dirty white ring surrounds it from one 
eye to the other. 

The female is greyer on the upper part of the body, and the 
front of the neck is only pale yellow. 

OBSERVATIONS. Ring sparrows are found in most European forests, or 
woods ; they are common enough in several parts of Germany *, those that 
inhabit the northern parts removing in winter ; but the others are stationary. 

* They are not natives of Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


They live on seeds and insects like the house sparrow, and make their 
nests in hollows of trees. In the house they are fed on rape and poppy- 
seeds ; they also readily eat the first universal paste. They are less prized 
for their warbling, which is insignificant, than for their beauty or rarity. 


Fringilla serinus, LINN^DS ; Le Serin vert, ou le Cini, BUFPON ; Der Girlitz, 

THIS bird is smaller than the siskin, its length not exceeding 
four inches and a quarter, of which the tail measures one inch 
and a third. The beak is short and thick, brown above and 
white below ; the iris is dark chestnut. The shanks are six 
lines high, and are of a flesh colour. The plumage of the 
male very much resembles that of the grey canary ; the front 
of the head, the circle round the eyes, a kind of collar, the 
breast and belly, are pale jonquil-coloured, mixed with a little 
green; the nape of the neck, the cheeks, the temples, and 
lesser wing-coverts, are of a canary green, mingled with rust 
colour and black. 

The spots scattered over the plumage are not isolated, but 
united to each other by an undulating line ; they are so small 
on the head, that it is only speckled. 

It is necessary to examine the female very closely to distin- 
guish it from the siskin, for, with the exception of a reddish 
grey tint, the colours are the same ; but its beak is shorter, its 
tail longer, and its shape freer. 

From my latest observations this bird appears to be the same 
as the citrU finch ; comparing them together in cabinets has 
confirmed my opinion ; but that which has decided me is the 
testimony of my friend, Dr. Meyer, of Offenbach, who has 
often seen and even fed in his house several of these birds. 
From him I derive the rest of this article, 

HABITATION It is not more than ten years since the serin was observed 

between Frankfort and Offenbach. They arrive every year in large flights, 
during March, and depart in October ; but there are always some that 
remain all the winter. Several were taken in January, 1800, when the 
thermometer was at twenty-one degrees Reaumur, and I myself have seen 
some near Offenbach at the end of February. They appear to prefer fruit 


trees, yet in woods they also appear attached to beech and oak trees ; but 
I have never met with them by the sides of rivers or streams planted with 

FOOD. They feed on all the small seeds found in fields and orchards, 
particularly groundsel, plantain, garden pimpernel, and others of the same 

In the house, rape, mixed with a little poppy seed, agrees very well with 
them ; a few grains of hemp seed and husked oats may be added from 
time to time. 

BREEDING. Their nest is generally placed on the lower branches of 
apple and pear trees, sometimes on beeches and oaks, but never on willows 
by the water-side. It is constructed of fine and divided roots, mosses, 
lichens, principally of those which are farinaceous, the whole being entwined 
with great nicety, and lined with a thick bed of feathers, horse-hair, and 
pigs' bristles. They lay three or four, rarely five, eggs of the form of, but 
rather smaller than, those of the canary ; white, but having at the large 
end a circle of spots and dots of a bright reddish brown. The hen sits on 
the eggs thirteen or fourteen days, during which time the male feeds her. 
He also helps to feed the young ones, which is done by disgorging the 
food ; the young perfectly resemble the grey linnet ; they may be reared 
easily on soaked rape seed ; but it is best to take the parent birds, and place 
them in the cage with their little ones, which they will continue to feed. 
The young birds remain grey till after moulting, they then attain their full 
plumage, as described before, but are never so beautiful in the house as iii 
their wild state. After being kept a few years in a cage, the yellow in 
those taken full grown becomes pale, and fades at length to nearly white. 
This bird will pair with the canary, siskin, linnet, or goldfinch. 

MODE OF TAKING These birds are easily taken in the area, or barn- 
floor trap, on a decoy bush, and with lime twigs placed near the stalks of 

DISEASES With the exception of consumption, of which one I had died, 
I know of no disease they are subject to. 

OBSERVATIONS. Of all house birds, these are the most sprightly and in- 
defatigable songsters. Their voice is not strong, but it is very melodious. 
The song, with the exception of a few passages, is like the lark's, and 
might be mistaken for the canary's. In their wild state they sing inces- 
santly, either perched on the outer branches of a tree, or whilst rising in 
the air, and gently sinking again to their former situation, or whilst flying 
from tree to tree. Their call resembles that of the canary, and their habits 
are also similar to that species. 

They are of a very affectionate character ; when allowed to range the 
room with siskins, linnets, and similar birds, they will caress all with the 
beak, but seem to prefer the company of the goldfinch, whose tones they 
will imitate, and improve their warbling by it. They are indeed very 
attractive birds. 



Fnngilla citrinella, LINN^US ; Le Venturon, BUFFON ; Der Citronenfink, 

THIS bird very nearly resembles the canary in its colour, 
shape, song, and habits ; but it is smaller and its notes weaker. 
Its resemblance, however, is so marked, that I should be 
inclined to suppose it the primitive wild stock, if the canary 
had not its representative in those islands from which it takes 
its name. The length of the citril finch is five inches, of which 
the tail measures two. The beak is short, the feet flesh- 
coloured, the plumage on the upper part of the body yellowish 
green, streaked with brown ; the under pan of the rump green- 
ish yellow ; the principal tint on the breast yellow. 

The female is less spotted, and the general shade of colour 
is lighter. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species, inhabiting the south of Europe, occasion- 
ally strays into the southern parts of Germany*, and the swpetness of their 
song makes them much sought after. They should be treated in the same 
manner as canaries. 


Fringilla Laponica, LINN^US ; Le Grand Montain, BUFFON ; Der Lerchenfink, 

THIS would be mistaken for a lark at first sight, as much 
from its plumage as from the length of its spur. We should, 
also see them much oftener in Germany if the bird-catchers, 
who catch them hi their lark's nests, did not take or kill them 
both indifferently. Their decoys are the same as the buntings 
(EmberizcB, Linn.), for though we cannot observe them much 
whilst alive, we cannot be deceived as to their pairing with 
finches (Frmgillce, Linn.) buntings and larks. They are 
about the size of the yellowhammer, six inches and a half in 
length, of which the tail measures two. The beak is yellow, 
with a black tip; the feet dark brown; the head blackish, 
spotted with reddish white, sometimes quite black ; a white 
line passes from the base of the bill above the eyes, down each 
side of the neck, curving towards the breast ; the upper pail 

* They are not natives of Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


of the body is red, with brown spots ; the throat and breast 
are pale red ; some males are black in the middle of the lower 

The female is paler in its colours ; its breast is spotted with 
grey and black ; in fact its plumage resembles the field lark's. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird is always found in the north, both in the old 
and new world, and goes towards the south in winter. It is met with by 
us on its arrival with the larks, and on its return with the snow bunting, 
but it is oftenest taken with larks. Its call is a kind of shrill whistle, and its 
song is very similar to the linnet's ; the female also warbles, but only in 
the bullfinch's style. It ranges the room like the lark, and if in a cage 
hops about its perches like the chaffinch. It is fed on rape, hemp, and 
poppy seed, which appear to agree with it very well. It may be fed at less 
expense on the first universal paste, as it also likes meal worms. I think 
that in its wild state it lives, like the chaffinch, on seeds and insects. 


Fringilla nivalis, LINNJEUS ; Le Niverole, ou Pinson de neige, BUFFON ; Der 
Schncefin, BECHSTEIN. 

THE name has been given it as much from its being found 
on high mountains and the colour of its plumage, as for its 
resemblance to the snow bunting. Its total length is seven 
inches and a quarter, of which the tail measures two and a 
half; the beak six lines long, very pointed, but thick at the 
base, and of a glossy black; the feet ten lines high, dark 
chestnut colour : its plumage is pretty ; the top of the head, 
cheeks, temples, nape, back, and sides of the neck are dark ash- 

The female only differs from the male in the grey of the 
head having a reddish tint, and the whole of the under part 
of the body, being white ; the breast has also a dirtier shade, 
and the sides are spotted with black. 

OBSERVATIONS. The snow finch inhabits the southern Alps, but is found 
as far north as the middle of Germany. I have even seen them in Thu- 
riugia, in company with the mountain finch ; it is a sprightly bird, and 
very fearless in a cage. It may be fed on rape, millet, and hemp seed ; 
but it appears to prefer the seed of the fir and nettle hemp (Galeopsis 
cannabina) : one would think that in its wild state it also fed on insects, 
as it readily takes meal worms when offered them. Its call is " kipp, 
kipp." It sings a great deal, but its song is not more agreeable than the 
mountain finch's, to which it appears allied, and like that is only kept in 
the bouse for its beauty and rarity. 


Fringilla canaria, LINN^US ; Le Serin de Canarie, BUFFON ; Der Canarienrogel, 

THIS pleasing bird had its origin in the pleasant climate and 
delightful valleys of the Canary Islands, and is now spread 
throughout Europe, part of Asia, and as far as Siberia. The 
beauty of its form, its plumage, and its song, united with its 
great docility, soon gained it admittance into the most mag- 
nificent abodes, where every one delights in rearing and pre- 
serving it, whilst the fairest hands are often eager to present 
it with the most delicate food. It was brought into our cli- 
mate as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century. The 
arrival of the canary in Europe, is thus described : A vessel, 
which besides its merchandise was bringing a number of these 
birds to Leghorn, was shipwrecked on the coast of Italy, oppo- 
site the island of Elba, where these little birds, having been 
set at liberty, took refuge. The climate being favourable, they 
increased, and would certainly have become naturalised, had 
not the wish to possess them occasioned their being caught in 
such numbers, that at last they were extirpated from their 
new country. From this cause Italy was the first European 
country where the canary was reared. At first their educa- 
tion was difficult, as the proper mariner of treating them was 
unknown j and what tended to render them scarce was, that 
only the male birds were brought over, no females. 

The grey of its primitive colour, darker on the back and 
greener on the belly, has undergone so many changes from its 
being domesticated, from the climate, and from the union with 
birds analogous to it (in Italy with the citril finch, the serin ; 
in our country with the linnet, the green finch, the siskin, and 
the goldfinch), that now we have canaries of all colours. If 
we had not sufficient proof that canaries came originally from 
the Fortunate Islands, we should think the citril finch, the 
serin, and the siskin, were the wild stock of this domesticated 
race. I have seen a bird, whose parent birds were a siskin and 
serin, which perfectly resembled a variety of the canary which 
is called the green. I have also seen mules from a female grey 
canary, in which was no trace of their true parentage. The 

___ ^fe- 



grey, the yellow, the white, the blackish, and the chestnut, 
are the principal varieties, and it is from their combination, 
and from their tints, that we derive the numerous varieties 
that we now possess. 

Those canaries, that have the upper part of the body of a 
dusky grey or linnet brown, and the under part the yellowish 
green of the green-bird, with dark brown eyes, are the strongest, 
and most nearly resemble the primitive race *. The yellow 
and white often have red eyes, and are the most tender. The 
chestnut are the most uncommon, and hold a middle rank for 
strength and length of life between the two extremes. But as 
the plumage of the intermediate ones is a mixture of these 
principal colours, their value depends on the pretty and regular 
manner in which they are marked. The canary that is most 
admired amongst us now, is one with the body white or yellow, 
the head, particularly if crested, wings and tail, yellowish dun ; 
the second in degree is of a golden yellow, with the head, wings 
and tail black, or at least dusky grey. Next follow the grey 
or blackish, with a yellow head and collar ; the yellow, with a 
blackish or green tuft, which are very much valued. As for 
those that are irregularly spotted, speckled, or variegated, they 
are much less sought after, and are used to pair with those of 
one colour, white, yellow, grey, brown-grey t, and the like. 

The female can scarcely be distinguished from the male, but 
the male has generally deeper and brighter colours, a head 
rather larger and longish, a longer body, a more elegant form, 
neck not quite so short, and higher shanks. There is a feather 
under the beak, of the shape of a bean, placed lower than the 
rest, and the temples and circle round the eyes are of a deeper 
yellow than the other parts of the body. 

The length of the canary is five inches, of which the tail 
measures two and a quarter : the beak, five lines long, is strong, 
very pointed, and whitish ; the shanks, eight lines in height, 
are of a flesh-colour. 

* I have observed, says Adanson, that the canary which becomes white in France 
is, at Teneriffe, of a grey, almost as dark as that of the linnet. AUTHOR. 

t It is a mistaken idea that the difference of colour in canaries depends on the 
difference of food. The wild birds vary much more than the domestic, yet their 
food is mere uniform. The being domesticaled, the want of exercise and natural 
food united, may occasion an alteration in the colours of the plumage. My birds 
have only very simple food, and yet they are not the less of various colours. AUTHOR. 


I shall end this description with an account of the different 
mule birds obtained from the canaries. 

MULE CANARIES. 1. Mules between a Canary and a Gold- 
finch, present in their plumage an agreeable mixture of the 
colours of their parents. The most beautiful which I have 
seen was greyish ash-colour in the middle of its crest, and silvery 
white on the rest of its head and nape ; a broad orange border 
surrounded the beak, and the neck was adorned with a white 
collar ; the back was a dusky grey, with black streaks ; the 
rump white, the under part of the body of a snowy whiteness ; 
the under tail-coverts, the wings and first quill-feathers white, 
but the others, as well as the coverts, black, edged with yellow ; 
the middle of the wing was also adorned with a beautiful 
golden yellow spot ; the white tail had a black spot on* the 
sides, the white beak was tipped with black, the feet were 
white. The mother of this beautiful bird was white, with a 
greenish grey crest. In general, one may be sure of fine birds 
when yellow or white females are paired with goldfinches. 

2. Mules between the Canary and the Siskin. If the mother 
be a green canary, the mules will resemble a female siskin ; 
but, if she is white or yellow, their colours are lighter, yet 
without differing greatly from those of the siskin, which they 
always resemble in shape. 

3. Mules between a Canary and a Green-bird, or a Citril 
Finch. If the hen canary is neither white nor yellow, the 
mules differ little from the common grey or green canary, 
except in being more slender, and having the beak shorter and 

4. Mules between a Canary and a Linnet will be speckled if 
the mother is white or yellow, but if she is grey they will be 
like her, except that the tail Avill be longer. 

The other mules are rarer, because more difficult to obtain, 
as we shall see elsewhere. 

HABITATION. Except in the breeding season the male canaries are kept 
alone in separate cages, which, Avhatever the shape, ought not to be less than 
eight inches in diameter and a foot in height, with two sticks placed across 
tor the bird to perch on. The females may be allowed to range the room 
with one wing clipped, or, what is better, kept in large cages, where, from 
having plenty of exercise, their health and strength are better preserved. 
In the small cages, glass vases should be placed on the outside, at the ex- 
tremities of the lower stick, to hold the food and water. These may be 


surmounted with a cap of tin, or something of the kind, to prevent the seed 
from being so easily scattered. It is for this reason that the large seed 
drawers in an aviary are covered with iron wire-work, leaving only sufficient 
spaces for the heads of the birds to pass through. Cleanliness being a great 
preservative against most of their disorders, the bottom of the cage should 
be made to draw out, that it may the easier be cleaned and covered with 
sand. This should be done every day, or at least several times a week. 
These tender birds, being natives of a warm climate, and becoming more 
delicate instead of hardier from being kept in the house, require a tempera- 
ture analogous to that of their native climate. They must be protected 
from the cold, and never allowed to remain in winter in a cold room, 
which would occasion many diseases, or even death. But, in summer, 
it is proper to place them in the open air, and they enjoy it very much. 
Never do they sing so gaily as on fine days, and their cages should there- 
fore be placed at the open window, that they may have the advantage of 
the light and heat of the sun, which is particularly serviceable to them 
whilst bathing. 

FOOD. This is an important point, for, in proportion as it is simple and 
natural, it will be wholesome ; and, on the contrary, the more it is mixed 
and rare, the more injurious and productive of disease will it be. What I 
have found the best is summer rape-seed ; I mean that which is sown at 
the end of spring, which is small and brown, in distinction from the winter 
rape-seed, which is sown in the autumn, and which is large and black. This 
seed alone agrees with canaries as well as with linnets : but to give them 
the pleasure of variety, a little bruised hemp or canary, or poppy-seed, is 
added to it, especially in the spring, when they are intended to breed. 
Indeed a mixture of summer rape-seed, oatmeal and millet, or canary-seed, 
may be given them as a great treat. But whatever seeds they may have, 
they equally require green food, as chickweed in spring, lettuce and radish 
leaves in summer, endive, water-cress, and slices of sweet apple, in winter. 
As to that whimsical and complicated mixture, prescribed and used by 
many people, of rape, millet, hemp, canary seed, whole oats and oatmeal, 
poppy, lettuce, plantain, potentilla, and pink seeds, maize, sugar, cake, hard 
biscuit, cracknels, buhs, and the like, so far from being wholesome, it injures 
the birds in every respect. It spoils their taste, weakens their stomachs, 
renders them feeble, sickly, and incapable of bearing moulting, under which 
they most frequently die. It is true, they may be accustomed to eat of 
everything which comes to table, but to teach this habit is also to prepare 
a poison for them, which though slow is not the less sure, and brings them 
to a premature death ; whilst every day we see bird-fanciers who are poor, 
who hardly know the names of these delicacies, rear, on the simplest food, 
a considerable number of the healthiest, cleverest, and strongest canaries. 
We must, however, be guided in a great measure by the constitutions 
of the birds. They should be daily supplied with fresh water, as well for 
drinking as bathing, in which they delight. In the moulting season, a nail 
or bit of iron should be put into the water, in order to strengthen the 
stomach. Saffron and liquorice are in this case more hurtful than useful. 
Grains of the sand, with which the bottom of the cage is strewed, afford 
the birds a help to digestion. What has been said above, refers solely to 



the food of full-grown canaries ; the young, which cannot feed themselves, 
require a different diet. 

BREEDING. A very important branch in the history of the canary is its 
education, which is not without difficulties, but these are augmented by all 
the refinements and artificial plans which some persons follow with so much 
parade. A male of from two to five years of age should be chosen for 
pairing ; for experience has taught, that if a young male is placed among 
older females, they will produce more males than females. A bird is known 
to be old by the blackish and rough scales of his feet, and by his long and 
strong claws. 

Good males are valuable and scarce. Some are dull and melancholy, 
always sad, and seldom singing; indifferent to their mates, which are 
equally so to them ; others are so passionate, that they beat or even 
kill their mates and their young ; others are too ardent, and pursue their 
mates while they are sitting, tear the nest, destroy the eggs, or excite the 
females so much that they voluntarily abandon them. 

The females have also their defects. Some, too ardent, only lay without 
Bitting; others neglect to feed their young, beat them, and pick out theii 
feathers, so that the wretched little creatures die miserably ; to others, 
laying is so painful that they are too much fatigued to sit, or they lay each 
egg only after a long interval. Quacks (for we find them on this subject 
as on others) pretend to have specifics for the cure of these defects ; but 
their pretended remedies are mere deceptions, and the use of them causes 
much trouble. The best plan is to remove the vicious birds, and to retain 
only those which have none of the above-named bad qualities. 

To obtain the most brilliant colours, those birds which have them clear, 
and whose spots are distinct and regular, are paired together. This, of 
course, can only be done in separate cages. In aviaries, where the birds 
pair by choice, the offspring are generally mixed and blotted. A greenish 
or brownish bird, placed with a bright yellow one, often produces dim 
Avhite, or other admired colours. It is better never to place together two 
crested birds, because the offspring is apt to have a part of the head bald or 
otherwise disfigured. 

The best time for pairing canaries is the middle of April. Either one 
male, and one or two females, are placed in a large cage, or many of both 
sexes are united in a room or aviary, having the advantage of a south as- 
pect. Nests made of turned wood, or osiers, are given them, as straw ones 
are too easily torn. It is a good plan to place in the room or aviary slips 
of pine, which being cut in February do not lose their leaves. If a little 
enclosure of wire-gauze can be fixed over the window, where the birds can 
enjoy the fresh air, nothing will more effectually contribute to render the 
young healthy and robust. 

Birds, which are to be paired for the first time, should be previously 
placed in the same cage for seven or eight days, in order to become ac- 
quainted and accustomed 1.0 live together. If two females are to be caged 
with one male, it is especially necessary that they should be together long 
enough to leave off quarrelling, and the pairing cage should be divided into 
two equal parts, communicating by a sliding door. This being done, a 
lively male and one of the females should be placed in the first division ; 


as soon as she has laid, the male should be moved into the other division, 
the door of separation being shut ; but as soon as the other has also laid, 
the door may be left open : the male will then visit the females alter- 
nately, and they will not trouble themselves about each other; but with- 
out these precautions jealousy would incline them to fight, and destroy 
each other's eggs. When it is intended to place a great many females, 
double or treble the number of males, in a room or aviary, the latter 
should always be first paired with a single female, which will ever after 
remain the favourite ; and it will only be when she is about to sit that he 
will pair with the others, and this is all the notice he will take of them, for 
afterwards he will only notice their young. It is from these mothers, 
however, that the most and the best birds are generally procured. 

If the floor of the room or aviary is well covered with moss, little else 
need be added for making the nests, otherwise they should be supplied 
with the hair of cows and deer, hogs' bristles, fine hay, lint, wool cut two 
or three inches long, paper shavings, and the like. That which is coarsest 
serves for the outside, and the softest and finest for the inside. If they 
have shrubs, traces of the natural instinct of the canary are soon observed 
in the nests which they construct without the help of the turner or basket 
weaver ; but they are of an inelegant form, and the outside is not very 
carefully finished. The females alone, as is usual among birds, are the 
Uuilders, the males only choosing the situation and bringing the materials. 
It is in the nest, where the female is in continual motion, that the pairing 
takes place ; she invites the male by constant little chirpings, repeated 
more quickly the nearer she is to laying. Seven or eight days are gene- 
rally reckoned from the first pairing to the laying of the first egg; the other 
eggs, whose number varies, without exceeding six, are laid successively 
every following day, and often at the same hour. The laying ended, pairing 
continues during the first days of incubation. 

If the pairs agree, they must be left entirely to themselves, without en- 
deavouring to use art to help nature, as many do. It is usual to take away 
the first egg and substitute an ivory one, which is repeated with the others to 
the last, preserving them in the mean time in a box filled with fine dry sand ; 
they are afterwards restored all together to the nest to be hatched *. 

The females lay three or four times a year, from April till September ; 
there are some even so prolific that moulting does not stop them. The 
eggs, of a sea-green colour, are at one end more or less spotted or marked 
with maroon or violet. The period of incubation is thirteen days. 

If, owing to the weakness of the mule or female, it is suspected that 
some of the eggs are barren, they should on the eighth day be examined by 
holding them lightly between the fingers in the sunshine or before a candle ; 

* This practice is not according to nature, which we can rarely oppose without 
inconvenience. " This plan causes the mother a greater loss of heat, and burdens 
her at once with five or six little ones, which coming together, disturb rather than 
please her ; whilst in seeing them hatched successively one after the other, her 
pleasure is increased and supports her strength and courage. Very intelligent 
bird-fanciers assure us, that by not removing the eggs from the female, and leaving 
them to be hatched in succession, they have always succeeded better than when 
substituting ivory eggs." Bnffon. TRANSLATOR. 


the good ones will be already filled with- blood-vessels, while the bad will 
continue clear, or even be already addled : these must be thrown away. 
It is rare for the male to sit in his turn during some hours of the day, the 
female seldom allowing it, for as soon as she has eaten she flies back to the 
nest. If the male gives up his place readily, so much the better; if not, 
she drive? him away by force and by pecking him. She appears to know 
his want of skill in this employment. 

The near discharge of a gun, a door slammed with violence, and other 
similar noises, will often kill the young in the shell ; but their death hap- 
pens generally through the fault of a bad sitter. 

As soon as the young are hatched, a small jar is placed beside the usual 
feeding trough, which contains a quarter of a hard egg minced very fine, 
white and yellow together, with a bit of white bread steeped in water, and 
afterwards well pressed ; another jar should contain rape seed which has 
been boiled, and then washed in fresh water, to remove all its acrimony. 
Some persons, instead of white bread, use biscuit, but this is unnecessary ; 
what, on the contrary, is very essential, is to take care that this food does 
not turn sour, for it would then infallibly destroy the young nurslings. 
This food I find by experience to be the best. 

Now is the time when the male assumes his important duties of nursing- 
father. These he fulfils indeed almost alone, in order to give his mate 
time to rest before a new sitting. When it is necessary to bring up the 
young by hand, a bit of white bread, or some biscuit, should be pounded 
very fine, and this powder should be mixed with well-bruised rape-seed. 
This composition serves, with a little yolk of egg and water, to make a 
paste, which is given to the young birds on a quill cut like a spoon ; each 
nursling requires for a meal four beakfuls, well piled upon the quill, and 
these meals must not be fewer than ten or twelve a day. 

The young should remain warmly covered by the mother as long as 
they continue unfledged * ; that is to say, generally for twelve days : on the 
thirteenth day they begin to eat alone. In four weeks they may be placed 
in other cages of a sufficient size; but they must still for some weeks be 
fed with the above-mentioned paste, conjointly with the food of full-grown 
birds ; for the sudden privation of this nourishment often occasions death, 
especially when moulting. 

Experience proves that generally those canaries which are hatched in a 
large garden aviary, where they enjoy fresh air, and considerable space for 
the exercise of their wings, are more vigorous, more healthy, and more 
robust than those which are bred in rooms, and it is easy to understand the 

It sometimes happens in very dry seasons that the feathers of the young birds 
cannot, develop naturally ; a bath of tepid water employed on such an occasion by 
Madame * * * was so successful that I cannot do better than recommend it. The 
same lady succeeded equally well in similar circumstances in hatching late eggs ; 
she plunged them for some minutes in water heated to the degree of incubation, 
and immediately replaced them under the mother ; in a short time she enjoyed the 
pleasure of seeing the little ones make their appearance. This interesting expe- 
riment may be applied to all sorts of birds, and may be particularly useful in regard 
to those of the poultry yard TRANSLATOR. 


I must not omit to mention here an important observation, which haa 
been often made, that if two females are given to one male, and one of 
them happens to die, the other immediately takes charge of the abandoned 
eggs, and assumes so completely the duties of foster-mother, that in order 
rigorously to fulfil them she avoids and even repulses the caresses of her 

Canaries pair not only among themselves in our aviaries and cages, they 
also form connexions foreign to their species, and, provided the analogy is 
not too remote, produce fruitful mules. Serins, citral finches, siskins, 
goldfinches, or linnets, are the species which succeed best*. To succeed, 
however, i.t is necessary that the birds should have been brought up from 
the nest. The custom is to give an old male of one of the above-named 
species to a female canary, the principal reason being that an old female 
of one of those species, though she would not object to the union, could 
never be induced to lay in an artificial nest, like a female canary. The 
offspring of these mixtures combine the colours of the father and mother, 
learn well enough if they descend from a linnet or goldfinch, but sing 
badly if they come from a siskin or lesser redpole. 

They are easily brought up with the paste mentioned above for canaries. 
It is asserted that the mules of serins, citral finches, and goldfinches, are 
fruitful. It is remarked, however, that their first eggs are very small, and 
the young hatched from them very weak ; but the next year the eggs be- 
come larger, and the young stronger and more robust. 

No sooner can the young canaries eat alone, which happens on the thir- 
teenth or fourteenth day, and sometimes even before they leave the nest, 
than the males begin to warble, and some females also, but in a less con- 
nected manner, which serves to point them out. As these pretty birds are 
so docile as to neglect entirely their natural song and imitate the harmony 
of otir instruments, it is necessary immediately to separate from his com- 
panions and from every other bird the young one which is to be instructed, 
by putting him aside in a cage which is at first to be covered with a piece of 

* Green birds, bullfinches, and even chaffinches, yellowhammers, and the like, 
have been tried ; but the difficulty augments with the difference of species and 
food : for example, I have never seen a male canary very fond of a female yellow- 
hammer, nor a male of the latter kind of a female canary, though the plumage 
may be selected so as to offer a striking resemblance. An ardent bullfinch will 
sometimes yield to the allurements of a very ardent hen canary. I have myself 
witnessed it ; but with every care, it is seldom that the eggs prove fruitful, and pro- 
duce young. Dr. Jassy, however, writes me from Frankfort,, that he has obtained 
mules of a bullfinch and canary, by making other canaries sit on the eggs and bring 
up the young ; and that this plan is pursued in Bohemia. A tufted or crested fe- 
male should never be chosen, because this ornament is very unbecoming to the 
large head of a mule. " My bullfinch," he adds, " is so attached to the female 
canary that he mourns all the time they are separated, and cannot bear any other 

I possess a nightingale which, having been for a long time shut up with a female 
canary, lives very sociably with her, and sings as usual ; indeed, he was so ardent 
in the spring, that he paired with her in my presence, but the eggs were unproduc- 
tive. I shall try next spring, if the same thing happens, to give the eggs to another 
sitter AUTHOR. 


linen, and afterwards with a darker cover. The air which is to be taught 
should be performed five or six times a day, especially in the evening and 
morning, either by whistling, or on a flageolet, or bird-organ ; he will ac- 
quire it more or less readily, in from two to six months, according to his 
abilities and memory ; if his separation from the other birds is delayed 
beyond the fourteenth day, he will retain some part of his father's song, 
which he wiU always intermingle with his acquired air, and consequently 
never perform it perfectly. The opinion of some, that the grayish canaries 
have more facility in learning than the yellow or the white, is unfounded, 
their only advantage over those of a different hue being that they are gene- 
rally more robust and vigorous. I have not either found that the true No. 
3 suits them better than No. 1 or No. 2 ; these latter, on the contrary, 
have appeared to me to please them best. 

There is too much trouble and risk in allowing canaries to go in and out 
of their cages for it to be worth the trouble of teaching them this. Not- 
withstanding all my attention, and the care which I have taken to follow 
exactly the prescribed rules, I have never succeeded ; and the cleverest 
bird-fanciers have assured me that it should never be attempted but when 
they have young ones, and above all, there must be no canaries in the 
neighbouring houses, which might entice them away. Indeed it is no easy 
matter to accustom a bird to go and come. There, as in many other ca'ses, 
conclusions in regard to the species have been drawn from individuals. It 
is certain that very few tame birds easily acquire this trick, and as I show 
in their histories, with respect to others, probabilities are too often stated 
as truths. 

DISEASES. Birds which seldom enjoy the benefit of fresh and pure air, 
prisoners destitute in their confinement of the means of exercise, must be 
particularly subject to the common diseases which have been named, and 
also to many other peculiar ones. The following are some of the disorders 
incident to canaries. 

1 . Rupture, or Hernia ; this is very common among young birds, and 
is a kind of plethora, which produces inflammation in the bowels. The 
symptoms of this disease are, thinness, the skin of the belly transparent and 
distended, covered with little red veins surcharged with blood, the bowels 
are black and knotted, and descend to the extremity of the body ; there 
are no feathers on the diseased part ; the invalid does not eat, and dies in 
a few days. Too nutritious, or too much food, being the cause of the 
disease, the only remedy is a very severe regimen, and even then it can be 
cured only in its first stages. The diseased birds must be immediately re- 
moved, and fed with nothing but lettuce or rape-seed, in very small quan- 
tities. A bit of iroii should also be put in the water, and everything be 
done to invigorate and purify them. It is very rare for young birds which 
are brought up by their parents to suffer from this disease, as they never 
over-feed them. In bringing up by hand this moderation should be imi- 
tated, and they should neither be over-fed nor pampered. 

2. The yellow gall in the head and eyes, arises from ovei* heat ; a 
cooling diet is therefore the only remedy. If the tumour has grown to the 
size of a grain of hemp-seed, it must be cut off, and the wound be anointed 
with a little fresh butter, or bathed with urine. 


3. Sweating. There are some females which, during the time of in- 
cubation, or while they are on their young, are subject to profuse perspira- 
tion ; the feathers of the belly are in consequence so wet as to destroy the 
brood : as soon as this indisposition is perceived the invalid must be washed 
with salt water, and after a few minutes be plunged into pure water, to 
wash off the salt, and be dried in the sun as quickly as possible. This 
operation is to be repeated once or twice a day till recovery; but as re- 
lapses are frequent, it is better to separate the female, and not allow her 
to sit. 

4. Asthma, or hard breathing, which arises from an oppressed stomach, 
generally yields to plantain and rape seeds moistened with water as the sole 

5. Sneezing, produced by an obstruction in the nostrils, is removed by 
passing a very small quill up them to clear them. 

6. Loss of voice. It sometimes happens that after moulting a male 
suffers the loss of its voice ; it must then be fed with the same paste as is 
prepared for young birds, adding some lettuce-seed, and, according to some 
bird-fanciers, a bit of bacon should be hung to the cage, for it to peck. 

7. Constipation. The remedy for this is plenty of green food, as lettuce 
leaves, watercress, &c. , not forgetting bread and milk. 

8. Epilepsy, which is common among many kinds of birds, may be pro- 
duced in canaries by particular causes, as great delicacy and timidity. We 
should therefore avoid alarming them, either by catching them too suddenly 
or violently, or by tormenting them in any way. They are to be cured as 
has been already directed in the Introduction. 

9. Overgrown claws and beak When the claws or beak want 

paring, sharp scissors must be used, and care taken to avoid drawing blood, 
lest the bird should be maimed. They often injure themselves when their 
claws are too long, and get hooked in the wires of the cage, and continue 
thus hanging. The females, in the same way, get entangled in their 

10. Lice. The parasite insects by which these little prisoners are often 
tormented, are generally produced by slovenliness. Besides frequent 
bathing, the cages must be cleaned with much care and vigilance, and 
have plenty of very dry sand strewed over the bottom. These lice, like 
bugs, retire during the day to cracks and ' crevices, which accounts for old 
wooden cages being often infested. To get rid of them, hollow sticks or 
stalks of rushes are used, which must be examined and changed every day. 
The plan is good, but by using only tin cages, which may, more easily than 
any others, be passed through boiling water, the object is more certainly 

It is rare for canaries which are kept for breeding to live longer than from 
seven to ten years ; while others, if well used, may be preserved for 
eighteen or twenty years. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The plumage, pretty form, and docility, the 
charming familiarity which disposes it to nestle without fear or reserve 
beside us, as well as its melodious song, have long introduced the canary 
to all classes of society. Always before our eyes, the object of the most 
assiduous care, and constant attention, it has afforded a thousand occasions 


for studying its character, or rather the character and dispositions of the 
different individuals of its species. It has been discovered that among them, 
as among quadrupeds, and even man, some individuals are gay and others 
melancholy ; some quarrelsome, others mild ; some intelligent, others 
stupid ; some with quick memories, others lazy ; some greedy, others frugal ; 
some petulant, others gentle ; some ardent, others cold. 

Its singing, as strong as varied, continues uninterrupted during the year, 
excepting at the time of moulting, and even this exception is not general. 
There are some individuals which sing also during the night *. 

Those which introduce into their melody some passages of the nightingale's 
song are the most esteemed of all canaries ; they are called Tyrolean cana- 
ries, because they are considered natives of the Tyrol, where they breed 
many of these birds. The second are the English canaries, which imitate 
the song of the woodlark. But in Thuringia the preference is generally 
given to those which, instead of a succession of noisy bursts, know how, 
with a silvery sonorous voice, to descend regularly through all the tones of 
the octave, introducing from time to time the sound of a trumpet. There 
are some males which, especially in the pairing season, sing with so much 
strength and ardour that they burst the delicate vessels of the lungs, and 
die suddenly. 

The female, particularly in the spring, sings also, but only a few uncon- 
nected and unmusical sounds. Old ones which have done breeding often 
sing in this way at all seasons. 

Canaries are particularly remarkable for quickness and correctness of ear, 
for the great ease with which they exactly repeat musical sounds, and for 
their excellent memory. Not only do they imitate all the birds in whose 
neighbourhood they have been placed when young -f-, mixing agreeably these 
songs with their own, whence have arisen those beautiful varieties which 
each family transmits to its descendants ; but they also learn to repeat cor- 
rectly two or three airs of a flute or bird-organ, and even to pronounce dis- 
tinctly some short words. Females also have been known to perform airs 
which they had been taught. 

I shall conclude this article on canaries by pointing out the best rules for 
obtaining and preserving good singers. The most essential is to choose from 
among the young that which promises a fine tone, and to seclude it from all 
other birds, that it may learn and remember nothing bad. The same pre- 
caution is necessary during the first and second moulting ; for being likely 
to re-learn (if I may say so) its song, it would introduce into it with equal 
ease foreign parts. It must be observed whether the bird likes to sing alone, 
or in company with others, for there are some which appear to have such 
whims, liking to hear only themselves, and which pout for whole years if 
they are not humoured on this point. Others sing faintly, and display their 
powers only when they can try their strength against a rival. It is very 

* Some do this naturally, others are taught it in their youth, by covering the cage 
and keeping them in the dark during the day, long enough for them to be hungry ; 
they are thus forced to eat by candle-light. Gradually they become accustomed to 
this, and at last sing AUTHOR. 

t Nothing is more delightful than to hear them imitate the song of the nightingale ; 
I prefer those which have this talent, and I never fail to possess one AUTHOR, 



important to distribute regularly to singing birds the simple allowance of 
fresh food which is intended for the day. By this means they will sing 
every day equally, because they will eat uniformly, and not pick the best 
one day and be obliged to put up with the refuse the next. 

About two spoonfuls of the dry food mentioned above, is sufficient for the 
daily nourishment of a canary ; what he leaves may be thrown to the birds 
which are free in the room, and will serve as a variety to those which have 
only the universal paste to satisfy their appetite. 


Fringilla nitens, LINNJEUS ; Le Moineau du Brdsil, BUFFON ; Der glanzende 

THIS bird is smaller than the house sparrow, being only 
four inches and a half long. The beak and feet are flesh- 
coloured ; the iris is white. All the plumage is of a bluish 
black, or black with a hue of burnished steel ; the female has 
the upper part of the body covered with blackish feathers, 
bordered with a yellowish brown ; the rump gray, the under 
part of the body dark yellowish brown ; the tail-feathers black 
with gray edges ; the feet reddish ; in some males the beak and 
feet are black. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird is found in the woods of Cayenne, and the 
neighbourhood of Carthagena in America. Its clear note is very agreeable. 
It appears to sing with so much energy as to ruffle the feathers of the 
head and neck. Its food consists of all kinds of seeds and fruits. Though 
bread appears to be sufficient when caged, it is better to add rape, millet, 
and poppy seed. It is easily tamed. 


Fringilla purpurea, LINNAEUS ; Bouvreuil violet de la Caroline, BUFFON ; Der 
Purpurflnk, BECHSTEIN, 

THE size of this bird is that of the common chaffinch, the 
length being five inches and a half; the plumage is of a deep 
violet, or reddish purple, mixed with a little dark brown ; the 
quill-feathers are brown on the inside ; the belly is white ; the 
tail is rather forked. 


The female is all over of a deep blue, except the breast, 
which is speckled. 

OBSERVATIONS These birds are very numerous during the summer in 

Carolina, which they quit in the winter in small flights. Juniper berries 
are their principal food ; and they eat them with pleasure when caged. 
They are generally fed with rape and canary seed ; but are soon accus- 
tomed to all the food of the aviary. They are more admired for their 
plumage than their song. 


Fringilla tristis, LINN.EUS ; Le Chardonneret jaune, BUFFON ; Der Geltoe Stieglitz, 

THIS bird is as large as a linnet, its length being about four 
inches and a third. The beak and feet are whitish ; the iris 
is nut-brown ; the forehead is black, and the rest of the body 

The female has no black on the forehead ; the upper part 
of her body is of an olive green ; the throat, breast and rump 
of a bright yellow ; the belly and vent white ; the wings and 
tail blackish. 

The young males at first exactly resemble the females, the 
only difference being the black forehead. 

These birds build twice a year, in spring and autumn. 
Edwards says that they also moult twice, so that it is only 
during the summer that they are of the colours described 
above. In the winter the top of the male's head is black; 
the throat, neck, and breast, yellow; the rump also yellow, but 
of a whitish hue ; the feathers of the back olive brown, lighter 
at the edges ; the wings and the tail black, with white edges 
to almost all the feathers. 

The female is generally of a lighter colour, and the top of 
the head is not black : thus we perceive that in winter these 
birds very much resemble our siskins. 

OBSERVATIONS. These American birds repair in the summer in great 
numbers to the state of New York ; they live on the seeds of different 
kinds of thistles, like our goldfinches, and eat the same food when caged. 
They are easily tamed, and sometimes even lay in captivity. Their eggs 
are of a pearl gray, but I am ignorant whether they are ever productive in 



Fringilla granatiua, LINNAEUS ; Le Grenadin, BUFFON ; Der Brasilische Fink, 

THE length of this bird is four inches and three quarters, 
the beak is coral red ; the iris is dark brown ; the eyelids are 
scarlet ; the feet are light gray ; the sides of the head round ; 
the eyes are purplish ; the upper base of the beak is blue ; the 
throat, the lower part of the belly, and the thighs, are black 
the lower part of the head and the rest of the body are chestnut, 
with a varying brown on the back and shoulders. 

The female has a red beak, and a little purple under the 
eyes ; the top of the head orange ; the back grayish brown ; 
the throat and lower parts of the body light orange ; the lower 
part of the belly whitish ; the rest of the colours differ from 
those of the male only in being less brilliant. 

OBSERVATIONS. This beautiful species comes from Brazil, and is always 
very expensive. The form of the beak is nearly the same as that of the 
goldfinch ; the food is also the same ; its motions are quick, and its song 
very pleasing. 


Fringilla Bengalus, LINNETS ; Le Bengali, ou Fringille a venire bleu, BI/PFON ; 
Der BlaubauchigB Fink, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this bird is four inches and a half, one and a 
half of which belong to the tail, which is wedge-shaped ; the 
beak is one third of an inch long, flattish at the sides, very 
sharp, and flesh-coloured ; the iris is nut-brown ; the feet are 
light brown ; the upper part of the head and body are ash- 
coloured, varying to purple ; the sides of the head, the lower 
part of the neck, the breast, the belly, and the rump, are light 
blue. The female has no mark under the eyes. The varieties 
which are observable among these birds probably arise from 
difference of age : some are found gray on the back, and others 
on the lower parts of the body ; and some in which the belly 
inclines to red. 

OBSERVATIONS. The blue-bellied finch is a native of Africa, and comes 
principally from Angola and Guinea : it is a pretty lively bird, with a 
sweet agreeable song. It is fed with canary-seed, bruised hemp, and 



Fringilla hepatica, LINNAEUS; Der Leberfarbene Fink, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is about the same size as the last, which it somewhat 
resembles in plumage; but its air and manner are very 
different. Its length is four inches, of which the wedge- 
shaped tail measures one and three quarters. The beak is 
like that of the sparrow in form, of a blood-red colour, tipped 
with black; the eyelids are yellowish and bare; the iris is 
reddish brown ; the feet are flesh-coloured ; on the cheeks is 
a dark purple spot ; the throat, half the breast, the sides, and 
the rump, are of a dirty greenish blue : the upper part of the 
body is of a dark liver-brown, the belly of a lighter shade of 
the same colour ; the wings are of a deep brown, with the edges 
of the pen-feathers of the same colour as the back ; the under 
side tending to blue, with black tips. I do not know the 

OBSERVATIONS. This species inhabits the shores of Africa ; it is very 
lively, and its call is "tea." Its weak but sweet song resembles that of 
the wood wren. It is fed on canary-seed. 


Fringilla Angolensis, LINN.EUS ; La Vengoline, BUFFON ; Der Angolische H&nfling, 

THIS, in form and habits, very much resembles our redpole. 
Its length is four inches and a half, of which the forked tail 
contains one and three quarters. The beak is short, and not 
flattish, blunt at the tip, and of a dingy flesh-colour ; the feet 
are flesh-coloured ; the circumference of the beak is black ; 
that of the eyes, with the sides of the throat, is spotted with 
white ; the top of the head, the upper part of the throat, the 
back, and the little coverts of the wings, are of a brownish ash- 

OBSERVATIONS. Angola is the native country of this bird. As to the 
eong it is sweet and flute-like, very like that of the linnet, but more 
melodious. It is fed with rape and canary seed. The young males have 
the same plumage as the females. 



Fringilla Melba, LINN/EUS ; Le Chardonneret vert, BUFFON ; Der griine Stiejlitz, 

THIS bird is exactly of the form of our common goldfinch. 
Its length is four inches and a half, of which the tail measures 
one and a half. The beak is half an inch long, and of a carna- 
tion colour ; the iris is chestnut ; the feet gray ; the front of 
the head, the back of the eye, and the throat, are of a bright 
red ; the bridle is ash-colour ; the upper part of the head, the 
neck, and the back, are yellowish green. 

The female has a light yellow beak, the top of the head and 
the neck ash-colour ; the little coverts of the wings and rump 
yellow-green ; the feathers of the tail brown, edged with pale 
red ; the rest like the male. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species is found in Brazil. The male pleases the 
ear by his song, as much as the eye by his plumage. It appears that by 
feeding them simply with rape and canary seed they may be preserved 
healthy for many years. 



THE characteristics of this group are a conical beak, some- 
times tending to cylindrical, sharp, generally weak, and the 
upper mandible fixed. Insects are the food of the greater 
number ; some also feed on berries and worms. The nests are 
for the most part well made, and the male sits alternately with 
the female. 


Alauda arvensis, LINN^US ; L'alouette, BUFFON ; Die Felderche, BECHSTHN. 

THIS bird is very generally known. Its length is seven 
inches, of which the tail contains three. The beak is weak, 
straight, cylindrical, and terminating in a point ; the mandibles 
are of an equal length, the lower one whitish, the upper black 
horn colour ; the iris is grayish brown ; the feet of the same 
colour, but yellower in the spring ; the height of the shanks is 
nearly an inch, and the hind claw is much longer than the hind 
toe itself. 

The female is distinguished by its smaller size, by the 
absence of the white line round the cheeks, by the great num- 
ber of black spots on the back and breast, and by the purer 
white of the breast. 

In the house we sometimes meet with the two following 
varieties : 

1. The white lark., which is either' clear white or yellowish 
white. He is occasionally found wild. 

2. The Mack lark. The whole body of this variety is black 
with a rusty tinge, and the belly feathers are edged with white. 
I am ignorant whether this variety has ever been found wild ; 
but it is not uncommon in dwelling houses, especially when the 
cages are fixed in a dark place where the rays of the sun can- 
not penetrate ; in moulting, their colour passes away to give 
place to the primitive plumage, which never happens to the 
white variety. 



HABITATION. In a wild State, the sky-lark is found almost all over the 
M'orld, frequenting fields and meadows, and by preference plains. It is a 
bird of passage which generally arrives in our regions in the beginning of 
February, and departs in great flights in the month of October *. No bird 
of passage returns so soon as the lark ; but as it lives not only on insects, 
but eats all kinds of seeds and even grass, it can seldom be in want of pro- 
vision even in the severest weather. 

In rooms, it is common to let it hop about, giving it a retired corner to 
sleep ; it is, however, also kept in cages, where it sings best. Whatever 
form may be given to these cages, they must be at least eighteen inches 
long, nine wide, and fifteen high ; the bottom should have a drawer in 
which enough of river sand should be kept for this scratching bird to 
be able to roll and dust itself conveniently. It is also a good plan to have 
in a corner a little square of fresh turf, which is as beneficial as it is agree- 
able. The top of the cage must be of linen, since, from its tendency to 
rise for flight, it would run the risk of wounding its head against a covering 
of wood or iron wire, especially before it is well tamed. The vessels for 
food and drink must be outside, or, which I prefer, a drawer for the food 
may be introduced in the side of the cage : sticks are not necessary, as the 
lark does not perch. When it is allowed to hop free in a room, the latter 

* In Britair. it is partly migratory and partly stationary. TRANSLATOR. 


must be very clean and neat, otherwise a thread or hair may entangle the 
feet, and if not removed it easily cuts the skin, maims the bird, and the 
entangled toes shrink and fall off. 

FOOD. When wild, the food consists of insects, especially ants' eggs ; 
also of all kinds of seeds, and in autumn of oats, which these birds skin 
by striking them against the ground, their beak being too weak to shell 
them alone. In the spring the sprouting seeds and young buds, also the 
blades of young grass, are eaten, and grains of sand help their digestion. 

In the house, if the lark is hopping about, nothing is better than the 
first universal paste described in the Introduction ; but if caged the second 
will suit it better. Poppy-seed, bruised hemp, crumb of bread, and plenty 
of greens, as lettuce, endive, cabbage, or water-cress, according to the 
season, must be added. A little lean meat and ants' eggs are favourite 
delicacies, which make it gay and more inclined to sing. When old larks 
are first made prisoners, they must be fed only with oats and poppy-seed to 
reconcile them to captivity. 

BREEDING. The lark lays but once a year in cold countries, twice in 
the temperate, and three times in the warmer climates. Its nest, formed 
on the ground in a little hollow, is made without much art of straw, and 
the wool and hair of animals, and by preference in hollow ground or among 
the summer crops of grain. The eggs, in number from three to five, are 
of a whitish gray, spotted and dotted with dark gray ; incubation lasts four- 
teen days. By the end of April the young are often hatched, and are at 
first only fed with insects, and leave the nest before they can fly ; but they 
nevertheless continue to be fed by the mother till they can follow her in 
her excursions. Before the first moulting all the upper part of the body 
is dotted with white ; if it is wished to take nestlings, they must be re- 
moved from the nest when the tail is about three quarters of an inch long. 
They are fed with crumb of white bread, and poppy-seed steeped in milk 
some ants' eggs or a little minced lean meat will be a wholesome addition. 
The males are soon distinguished by their yellow colour. If it is intended 
to teach them to perform a tune, their instructor must commence before 
they are ready to fly, for by that time they already begin to record their 
natural song. They must also be completely separated from other singing 
birds, otherwise the great flexibility of their organs, joined to their me- 
mory, will infallibly cause them to adopt the song of such birds as they 
are near ; and even old larks, brought into my bird-room, have learnt 
to imitate perfectly the nightingale and chaffinch. They vary, however, 
very much in this respect. Some females in confinement lay without the 
presence of a male, and others pair, but I have never yet succeeded in 
making them sit. One of my neighbours, notwithstanding the greatest 
care, has succeeded no better, though he had a female which laid from 
twenty to twenty-five eggs annually. There would undoubtedly be a better 
chance of success in a large garden aviary*. 

* If it is difficult to induce larks to sit, it appears to be very easy to make them 
take care of a young brood. 

" The instinct," says Bufibn, " which induces hen larks to bring up and watch 
over a brood appears sometimes very early, even before that which disposes them 


DISEASES Besides those which have been named in the Introduction, 

these birds are very subject to a kind of scurf or yellow crust round the 
base of the beak. The best remedy is to take care that they have good 
food ; the second universal paste agrees with them particularly well ; but 
greens, ants' eggs, meal-worins, or other insects, must be added. With this 
food they may be preserved healthy for many years in the house. Instances 
have been known of larks which have lived in this way for thirty years. 

MODE OF TAKING. It would take too long a time to describe all the 
modes of catching larks which are in use. It is enough to say that with 
day and night nets, known by the name of lark nets, so large a number of 
these birds are taken alive in the open country, that it is easy to have a 
choice of both males and females. This lark snaring is accomplished by 
placing a considerable number of nets perpendicularly like walls, which are 
called day-nets, towards which, in the dusk, the birds are forced by means 
of a long rope, which is drawn along the ground, and drives them forward ; 
in the night a square net called a night-net is carried to a spot where it is 
known that many larks are collected in the stubble, and there they are 
covered just when they begin to flutter. 

If, in the spring, it is wished to procure a good singing male, for some 
are better than others, a lark whose wings are tied, and with a little forked 
lime-twig fixed to its back, must be carried to the place where such a bird 
is to be found. As soon as it is let loose, and the desired male has per- 
ceived it from high in the air, he will fall upon it like an arrow and attack 
it ; but soon, the dupe of his jealousy, he will find himself caught by the 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES The very pleasing song of the sky-lark con- 
sists of several stanzas or strains, composed entirely of trills and flourishes, 
interrupted from time to time by loud whistling. I have already said that 
the lark has great abilities for learning. The young readily imitate the 
notes of all the birds in the same room with them, and the old sometimes 
succeed also : this, however, is not general ; for among birds as among 

to become mothers, and which, in the order of nature, ought, it would seem, to 
precede it. 

" In the month of May, a young lark was brought to me which could not feed 
itself; I fed it, and it could hardly peck up, when a brood of four young ones of 
the same species was brought to me from another place. She exhibited a singular 
affection for these new comers, which were not much younger than herself; she 
nursed them day and night, warmed them under her wings, and pushed the food 
into their mouths with her beak ; nothing could distract her from these interesting 
duties. If she was removed from the young ones, she flew back to them as soon as 
she was free, without ever thinking of escaping, as she might have done a hundred 
times. Her affection increased so much that she literally forgot to eat and drink ; 
and she lived only on the food which was given to her as well as to her adopted 
young, and she died at length, consumed by this sort of maternal passion. None of 
the young survived her, they died one after the other, so necessary had her ma- 
ternal cares become to them ; so entirely were these cares produced by affection, 
and reciprocated." 

This, it appears, is more than could be said of the persons who had the care of 
these unfortunate little birds. TRANSLATOR 


men, memories vary in power. Some have a stronger and more melodious 
voice ; there are some which, in confinement, begin to sing as early as 
December, and continue till they moult ; while others, less lively, delay 
till the month of March, and cease to sing in the month of August. In 
its wild state, the lark begins to sing in the first fine days of spring, the 
season of pairing, and ceases at the end of July ; this, however, is not 
without exceptions, as some individuals continue till the end of September. 
It belongs to the small number of birds which sing as they fly, and the 
higher it rises the more it appears to elevate its voice, so that it may be 
heard when it is out of sight. In the country, it very seldom sings when 
on the ground ; in the room it often does, and with ease, and it becomes 
so tame as to come and eat from the table or the hand. 


Alauda cristata, LINN^US ; Le Cochevis, ou la grosse Alouette huppge ; Die Han- 
benlerche, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is stronger than the sky-lark, and its colour is 
lighter, but its length the same. The beak is lead-coloured, 
and brown at the point, is also rather longer; the iris is dark 
brown. The shanks are an inch high, and yellowish gray ; the 
head, the cheeks, the upper part of the neck to the upper part 
of the back, are of a reddish gray, caused by the wide red 
edges of the feathers, which are brown in the middle ; a reddish 
white line, hardly perceptible above the eyes, but very distinct 
beyond, extends from the nostrils to the ears ; eight or ten long- 
pointed blackish feathers rising on the head form a beautiful 
perpendicular crest. 

The crest of the female is lower, but her breast is covered 
with more numerous and rounder spots than the male. 

HABITATION. When wild it is only in autumn and winter that they 
appear in Saxony in small or large flights, beside the high roads, on dung- 
hills, near barns and stables, among sparrows and yellow-hammers; they 
are also found all over Europe, from Sweden to Italy * ; in summer, they 
frequent the thickets and bushes of the plains, fields, and meadows, or they 
inhabit the hollows of ditches, paths in woods, and elevated villages. They 
depart in October. 

In the house they may be kept in cages, like the sky-lark, or be left to 
run about. I know no bird whose feathers grow so quickly ; if the wings 
:<re kept clipped, this must be repeated every three or four weeks, as by that 

* They are not natives of Britain. TRANSLATOR . 


time they are so much grown that they may serve for flying about the 

FOOD When wild this bird lives, like the sky-lark, on insects, different 
sorts of seeds, and oats. In the house it is fed with the same things, but 
it becomes more robust and healthy than the sky-lark. 

BREEDING. This species forms its nest on the ground, under little dry 
bushes, under garden vegetables, on clay walls, and even on thatched roofs. 
The eggs, in number from four to five, are of a rusty gray, shaded and 
spotted at the upper end with dark brown. The first plumage of the young 
before moulting is variegated white. They are taken from the nest when 
the feathers are half grown to be tamed and taught airs, or to have them 
instructed by other birds whose song is admired ; they learn every thing 
with the greatest ease. 

DISEASES. They are the same as those of other larks. A lousy disease 
may be added. I possess two male crested larks, one of which has hardly 
any of the lice which so commonly torment birds, whilst the other, which 
is nevertheless as gay and musical, is so covered with them that he cannot 
be touched without having the hand filled with these nasty insects. He 
has been with me four years, and though he has maintained for a long time 
millions of these parasites, he continues in good health, which I attribute 
to his abundant supply of good food. 

Is this produced by a diffeience in the cleanly dispositions of these two 
birds, or is it a constitutional difference ? 

MODE OF TAKING. When, in winter, any spot has been remarked 
which the larks prefer, a place must be cleared fiom snow, some oats and 
poppy-seed be thrown upon it for a bait, and limed twigs, nets, or even a 
simple gauze, be conveniently arranged, and soon plenty will be caught. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the crested lark is, in my opinion, 
very inferior to that of the sky-lark ; it seems composed of the warbling of 
that and of the linnet ; this bird sings also in the night. Its time of sisging 
lasts from February to August, but longer in those birds which have been 
tamed from the nest. It has not the tottering gait of the sky-lark, but 
runs nimbly, and moves its crest in the most expressive way. It is rather 
quarrelsome, and has the peculiarity that when it fights it continues to sing. 


Alauda arborea, LINN^US ; Le Cujelicr, ou L'Alouette des Bois, ou La Loulou, 
BUFFON ; Die Waldlerche, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS charming species is one-third smaller than the field- 
lark, and resembles it much in form and gait. The beak is 
black above, brown below, tending to carnation at the tip. 
The shanks, three quarters of an inch high, are of a brownish 
flesh-colour. The top of the head is reddish brown, with four 



dark brown lines ; its long feathers render the head large, and 
they may be raised at pleasure into a crest, which from eye to 
eye is surrounded by a whitish ash- coloured line. The tail is 
very short. 

The female, more beautiful, is of a paler ground, with darker 
ornaments ; her breast more spotted ; the crest on her head 
more prominent, and the line round the cheeks more distinct. 
It is a well attested observation made on all our indigenous 
species, that the individuals with the most spots on a lighter 
ground, and of a clearer white, are certainly females. 

HABITATION. When wild these birds inhabit the temperate regions of 
Europe, in summer the woods of the plain, near fields and meadows, and in 
the woods of the hills they alternate between heaths and pasture lands. 
After breeding time they assemble in small flocks of ten or twelve. They 
are thus found in the stubble, at their departure in October, and their 
return in March. 

In the house I prefer letting them run about, because my experience 
shows that they sing better in this way than when caged. They must be 
well supplied with river sand, as well to roll and dust themselves as to pick 
out grains necessary for their digestion. 

FOOD. When wild, in summer, the food consists of insects ; in autumn, 
of rape, millet, seed, and oats ; in spring, before they can find insects and 
worms, they are satisfied with the young buds of herbs, water-cresses, 
and, on an emergency, with the buds of the filbert. 

In the house, as this species is more delicate than the preceding, it is well 
to vary the food, and to give it occasionally, independent of the universal 
paste, poppy-seed, oats, hemp, sprouting wheat, fresh curds, fresh and dried 
ants! eggs, minced ox heart, meal worms, and the like. When one of 
these birds is caught by the net or otherwise, the best things to induce it to 
eat when it reaches the bird-room are poppy-seeds and ants' eggs. 

I have seen two wood-larks which had been kept in a cage for eight 
years, very healthy and gay, with their feet quite free from disease, and 
singing perfectly. Their food consisted of crumbs of white bread and 
pounded hemp-seed mixed together ; a piece of white bread, enough for the 
day, soaked in milk, which was poured boiling over it every morning, was 
also furnished ; and finally, some ants' eggs, given two or three times a day 
as a treat. The bottom of the cage was also covered with sand, which was 
changed regularly every day, as well as the water. They were always kept 
in summer outside the window, exposed to the free air, screening them from 
the sun by covering the top of the cage with a sheet of paper or piece of 
linen by way of parasol. The success of this mode of treatment sufficiently 
proves its advantage. The cage was furnished with two bars, because the 
wood-lark perches. 

BREEDING. The wood-lark builds among the heath, under juniper 
bushes, in hedges, high grass, or under a green hillock in fields near the 
Avoods, or in copse wood. The nest is made of dry blades of grass, mixed 


with moss, wool, and hair. The eggs are variegated with light gray and 
brownish violet. The young may be bred up with bread soaked in milk, 
and ants' eggs. They readily learn the different songs of the birds with 
which they are imprisoned ; but this medley is less agreeable to me than 
their natural song. 

DISEASES To the list of diseases already given, to which the wood-lark 

may be subject, I must add one which is peculiar to it. This attacks the 
feet and renders them extremely brittle. I cannot too strongly recommend 
to clean them carefully from everything which might entangle them ; a 
single hair may cut them, so that the toes shrivel, or ulcerate and fall off. 
They become so brittle with age, that with all my cares I could never keep 
any beyond four years; the least thing breaks them. Most of the wood- 
larks which I have had perished from broken legs ; and this peculiarity I 
have remarked in no other species of bird. 

We see from these instances, that if birds allowed to hop about a room 
enjoy more space and free exercise, they are also subject to more inconve- 
niences and disadvantages than caged birds. Their food is neither so appro- 
priate or regular ; they cannot be kept so clean ; their feet are almost 
inevitably injured ; and lice devour them, without the power of prevention. 

MODE OF TAKING. The wood-lark may be caught on the nest by means 
of limed twigs ; but as it is very cruel to separate a pair, and thus to destroy 
a whole family, it is better to wait till autumn, and to use the night-net. 
They may be caught early in the spring, when there is snow on the ground, 
by placing limed twigs or nets in cleared places. This is the best method 
of catching them. It is true that this plan will not succeed in all years ; 
but another may be substituted, if we have a decoy wood-lark, by placing 
it under a folding net, in a field frequented by a flight of this species, which 
will not fail to join it. The same means also may be used as with the chaf- 
finch, namely, by tying the wings of a wood-lark with a limed twig on his back, 
and letting him run to the place where there is a male of the same species. 
By this means the bird-fancier may obtain whatever kind of singer he prefers. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Of all the species of larks the wood lark has 
the finest song, and to my taste it is, of all our indigenous birds (always 
excepting the nightingale), the one whose natural notes are the most 
delightful. Its clear flute-like voice executes a sonorous, tender, and some- 
what melancholy air. In the country it rises from the tops of the trees so 
high in the air that the eye can scarcely discern it. and there remaining sta- 
tionary, the wings and the tail expanded, it sings uninterruptedly for hours 
together ; it sings in the same manner when perched on a tree. 

In the house, it is from a retired corner, tranquil and motionless, that it 
utters the different modulations of its beautiful voice. The singing time in 
its wild state is from March to July ; in the house, from February to 
August. The female, like other larks, sings also, but her strains are shorter 
and less sustained. These birds appear to be subject to whims : I have 
seen some which would never sing in a room or in the presence of an 
auditor. These perverse birds must be placed in a long cage outside the 
window. I have remarked that in general these obstinate birds are the 
best singers. Their abrupt step and various frolics, in which they raise the 
feathers of the head and neck, are also very amusing. 



Anthus arboreus, BECKSTEIN ; L'Alouettc Pipi, BUFFON ; Die Waldpieper, 

THIS is the smallest of our larks ; its length is but five inches 
and a half, two and a half of which belong to the tail, which it 
carries and moves like a wagtail, and by this characteristic it 
seems to stand intermediate between the larks and the wagtails. 
The sharp beak is dark brown above and whitish below ; the 
iris is brown. The shanks are three quarters of an inch high, 
and light flesh-coloured ; the angle of the hind toe is short and 
crooked. The head, rather oval than round, is, with the neck, 
back, rump, and sides, of an olive brown with black wavy 

The female differs from the male only in the paler yellow of 
the throat, neck, and breast ; the white spot in the second tail- 
feather is also smaller, and the two transverse bands on the 
wings are whiter. The young males of the first year have the 
under part of the body of a lighter yellow than those which are 

HABITATION. When wild, with the exception of the most northern parts, 
this species is found all over Europe. They build in great numbers in 
Germany and England, in mountainous and woody places, and establish 
themselves by preference on the skirts of forests, in fields, and orchards, in 
their neighbourhood, or in the cleared parts of woods. In the month of 
August they arrive in small flights in fields and enclosures planted with 
cabbages, where caterpillars abound. In September they pass into the oat 
fields, and in October they are caught in the nets with the common larks. 
The time of their return is about the end of March ; and if the cold is severe 
they collect by thousands in damp fields and near warm springs. One 
peculiarity of this species is the having during the rest of the year a call 
different from that of the breeding season. It no longer perches on trees 
and bushes, but remains on the ground, crying ' ' pitt, pittS* (or rather, I 
think, "guilt, guik"} while in the sitting time the cry is more tender, 
expresses more solicitude, " tzip, tzip" and is heard only in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the nest. As soon, therefore, as this cry strikes the ear, 
we may be sure the nest is not far off; and if the young are hatched we 
shall soon see the father or mother with a beakful of insects, redoubling and 
increasing the cry as they approach their precious charge. The other cry of 
" pit I " or " guik " is never heard at this season ; whence it happens that 
sportsmen and bird-catchers make two species of this same lark ; one they 
name the heath lark, whose call in the woods is " tzip" and the other the 
cabbage lark, which in the fields calls " guik." I have never been able to 


convince these people of their error, but by showing them in my bird-room 
the same lark which called "guilt " in the autumn and winter, and " tzip " 
in the summer. We may judge by this circumstance how many mistakes 
and errors may slip into natural history, when in the determination of species 
we meet with things wbich we can neither see nor verify. 

In confinement, I have been accustomed to let the calling lark range 
freely among my other birds, because I would not trouble myself to give 
it a particular cage. I own, however, that it would be better so circum- 
stanced, on all accounts, as well in regard to its health as its song. This 
cage should be long, like that of the sky-lark, and furnished with two 
sticks, because this kind perches. 

FOOD. When wild, the food consists of all sorts of flies, grasshoppers, 
caterpillars, butterflies, beetles, and ants' eggs. 

In confinement, as it is the most delicate of its species, the food must be 
frequently changed and varied. Besides the universal paste, we should 
sometimes give it the common food of the nightingale, sometimes bruised 
hemp, mouldy cheese, meal worms, and ants' eggs. 

It is very difficult to accustom it to take the food of the bird-room. As 
soon as it arrives, we must throw it some meal worms, ants' eggs, or 
caterpillars ; as soon as these are eaten, some must be mixed with the uni- 
versal paste and with all its food ; it will thus insensibly grow accustomed 
to the common food. 

This lark does not roll in the sand, and dust itself like the others, but 
it thrusts its beak into water and sprinkles itself ; another indication of its 
approximation to the wagtail, as was mentioned above. 

BREEDING. The titlark lays twice a year. The nest, placed on the 
ground in a cleared part of the woods, or under a bush or hillock, in a 
tuft of grass, in a field or orchard, is made in the simplest manner ; coarse 
hay outside and finer within, with some wool and hair, are all the ma- 
terials. The eggs, in number from four to five, are gray mottled with 
brown ; the young escape as soon as possible, having but too many ene- 
mies to fear on the ground. 

They may be brought up with ants' eggs and white bread soaked in 
boiled milk, to which a few poppy-seeds are added. They easily learn to 
imitate the songs of the birds in the same room with them, especially that 
of the canary, without however attaining any great perfection. 

DISEASES. Independent of those which are common to the other birds 
of its species, it is particularly subject to the loss of its feathers out of the 
moulting season ; if it is not at once supplied with food more nutritious, 
nnd better suited to its natural habits, as ants' eggs, meal worms, and other 
insects, it soon dies of atrophy. At the best it can only be preserved five 
or six years *. 

MODE OF TAKING. To take the bird from its nest by a limed twig, and 
thus destroy the young family by hunger and misery, is a cruelty which 
none but a harsh insensible amateur could resolve upon. I prefer using 
the night-net in autumn ; this bird is also caught in the water-trap in Au- 
gust and September. 

* I possessed a fine one wbich died from lice. TRANSLATOR. 


ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the titlark, though short, and 
composed of only three strains mixed with shakes and trills, is neverthe- 
less very pleasing. It sings from the end of March to July, either from 
the top of a tree, where it is perched, or when rising perpendicularly in the 
air, where it remains a few minutes and then quietly descends, almost 
always to the same place. As it alights it repeats several times " tzia, 
tzia, tziaS' 1 In the house it begins to sing a month earlier. It pleases 
also by its pretty ways ; its step is somewhat grave, and the tail is in per- 
petual motion : it is always very clean and trim. 


Anthus campcstris, BECHSTEIN ; La Spipolette, BUFFON ; Die Brachpieper, 

IN figure it is more slender than the sky-lark ; the plumage 
resembles that of the crested lark, and the form' that of the 
titlark. .Its length is six niches and a half. The beak is strong 
and long, the line above the eyes distinctly marked, the breast 
yellowish white, with but few rays or lines. In summer it 
frequents marshy woods, in autumn the edges of the fields, 
high roads, and meadows, where it may be easily caught with 
the night-net. Its only known song is its constant cry " tsirru " 
and " datsida " while revolving in the air. It departs in Sep- 
tember and returns in April. Its food is the same as that of 
the titlark ; it also requires the same treatment when in con- 
finement if it should be wished to keep it, but it has no qua- 
lities to make this desirable. 


Alauda alpestris, LINN^US ; Alouette Haussecol noir, ou Alouette de Virginie, 
BUFFON ; Die Berglerche, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is seven inches long, rather stronger than the 
field pipit, and has the same plumage on the upper part of the 
body ; but the throat is light yellow, as well as the rest of the 
under part of the neck, over which and the top of the breast 
passes a black band, which hi the lower part is shaped like a 
horse-shoe. The beak, feet, and claws, are black. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species properly inhabits the north as well of Eu- 
rope as of America, as far as Virginia ; but in the winter it appears in 


Germany, where it may be seen by the road side picking for its food the 
undigested grains in horse-dung. It perches like the wood-lark. It is 
caught in the southern parts of Thuringia with lime twigs, or nets, at its 
return in March, when there has happened a heavy fall of snow; but at 
such times it is so thin and so weak for want of food as scarcely to have 
strength to eat what is offered to it. It may, no doubt, be preserved in 
confinement by treating it like other larks, but of this I have no experi- 
ence, never having been able to procure a single living individual of this 
species, which also prevents my speaking of its song. 


Alauda Calandra, LINN.EUS; La Calandre, BUFFON; Die Kalander, BECHSTEIN. 

LARGER than the common lark, the Calandra is also fur- 
nished with a shorter and stronger beak, which enables it to 
shell its grain ; in other respects the plumage, the form, and 
manners, are the same, the only difference being a very distinct 
and apparent spot on the lower part of the neck. The male is 
distinguished by being larger and blacker round the neck ; the 
female has a very narrow collar, and sometimes none at all ; 
some individuals, old ones doubtless, have a large black mark 
at the top of the breast. The tail is black, according to Lin- 
naeus, while in the preceding it is brown. 

HABITATION. It appears that this species has much resemblance to the 
preceding ; but it does not inhabit the North ; it is found in Syria, Italy, 
Sardinia, and Provence : it is also said to frequent Carolina, in America. 

In confinement it must be furnished with a long cage, the top made of 
linen, because it hops and jumps about a great deal, especially at first. It 
must be fed like the other larks. 

BREEDING It builds on the ground like the sky-lark, and lays four or 
five eggs. In order to have calandras which sing well, they must be bred 
up from the nest, and be fed in the same manner as the young of the sky- 
lark species ; this is how they breed them in Provence. 

MODE OF TAKING. In the countries where it is found, the plan consists 
in spreading a net near the water where it drinks ; this method is con- 
sidered the best. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES Its song is so admired in Italy, that " to sing 
like a calandra " is a common expression for to "sing well." It also 
possesses the talent of imitating, like the skylark, the songs of many birds, 
such as the goldfinch, the linnet, the canary, and even the chirp of young 
chickens, the cry of the cat, in short, all sounds adapted to its organs, and 
which may be acquired when they are flexible. 


Sturmis vuigaris, LINN.EUS ; L'Etourneau, BUFFON ; Der gemeine Staar, 

THE length of this bird is eight inches and a half, two and 
a half of which helong to the tail, and one to the beak, which 
is awl-shaped, angular, flattish, and rather blunt, yellow, 
brown towards the end, and the tip blue. The iris is nut- 
brown ; the claws an inch long, are deep flesh-coloured. All 
the plumage is of a blackish hue, changing to purple towards 
the front of the body, and to green towards the hind part, and 
on the wing-coverts. The old males are darker, having no 
white tips to the feathers of the head, cheeks, throat, or belly. 

The beak of the female is rather brown than yellow ; the 
light spots on the head, neck, and breast, are larger, and the 
edge of the feathers is wider, which gives it a lighter and more 
speckled appearance. 

The starling, like all other species, has its varieties : such 
are the white, the streaked or variegated, the white-headed, 
that whose body is white with a black head, and the ash gray. 

HABITATION. When 'wild the starling is found all over the old world. 
It prefers forests and little thickets, surrounded by fields and meadows ; 
it is often seen, especially in spring, on towers, steeples, and churches ; 
but it is never found either in high mountains or ridges. In our climate, 
it departs, in October, in great flights for the south, and returns in like 
manner in the beginning of March. During the journey, these birds pass 
the night among the rushes, where, on the least alarm, they make a 
great tumult. 

In confinement it would be very amusing to let them run free : but let 


them be 6ver so neat themselves, they would render the room dirty. 
When caged, they must be furnished "with a cage at least two feet long, 
and one and a half both in height and width. Very restless and always 
in motion, they require sufficient space to take exercise and keep their 
plumage uninjured. 

FOOD. When wild they eat not only caterpillars, snails, -vorras, 
insects, and the flies which torment the cattle in the field ; but also 
cherries, grapes, berries of all sorts, and different sorts of grain, as millet 
and hemp seed. 

In confinement they eat meat, worms, bread, cheese, the universal paste, 
indeed, any food, provided it is not sour. When first caught, they are 
supplied with earth and meal- worms, and they soon become as tame as if 
they had been brought up from the nest; but, as there is no rule without 
exceptions, we sometimes meet with individuals which obstinately refuse 
to eat, whatever pains may be taken to induce them, and which die of 
hunger. This bird delights in bathing often, it must therefore. never be 
left without fresh water in a proper vessel. 

BREEDING The starling builds in the holes of trees, and even in boxes, 
or pots with long necks, suspended to trees, or under the roof, or in 
pigeon-houses. Its simple nest is composed of dry leaves, hay, and 
feathers. Like the swallow it returns to the same nest every year, only 
taking care to clean it out. It lays twice in the year, seven eggs each 
time, whose colour is ashy green. The young, before moulting, are of 
rather a yellowish soot colour, than pure black. The beak is dark 
brown ; those which are bred from the nest, and which are easily reared 
on white bread soaked in milk, repeat the airs they are taught in a stronger 
and more distinct manner than bullfinches and linnets. They can, indeed, 
repeat a succession of couplets without changing or mixing them. In 
Voigtlande, the peasants use the starling like domestic pigeons ; they eat 
the young, which they take before they can fly ; by this means they 
obtain three broods, but they do not touch the last, both in order not to 
discourage and drive away the father and mother, and not to diminish this 
branch of economy. 

Starlings have been seen to build in dwelling-houses, in an earthen vase 
with a long neck, appropriated to the purpose *. 

DISEASES. I know none peculiar to them. These birds will live ten 
or twelve years in confinement. 

MODE OF TAKING. It is principally in autumn, and in places filled with 
reeds, that the bird-catchers take great numbers of starlings in nets 
prepared for the purpose. They may also be procured by means of an 
osier fish-net, placed among the reeds, which they frequent in the evening, 
and baited with cherries. Though this means is limited, as many as a 
hundred have been procured by it in one night. 

In Thuringia it is never attempted to catch them for the house except 
in the month of March, when snow falls after their arrival. For this 

* I saw a colony of starlings established on this plan at an inn at Lcyden. 


purpose limed twigs are put in places cleared from snow, and beside 
swampy ditches, with some earth-worms for a snare, into which they fall 
as easily as chickens. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The starling becomes wonderfully familiar 
in the house ; as docile and cunning as a dog, he is always gay, wakeful, 
soon knows all the inhabitants of the house, remarks their motions and 
air, and adapts himself to their humours. In his solemn tottering step, 
he appears to go stupidly forward ; but nothing escapes his eye. He 
learns to pronounce words without having his tongue cut, which proves 
the uselessness of this cruel operation. He repeats correctly the airs 
which are taught him, as does also the female, imitates the cries of men 
and animals, and the songs of all the birds in the room with him. It 
must be owned that his acquirements are very uncertain : he forgets as 
fast as he learns, or he mixes up the old and new in utter confusion ; 
therefore, if it is wished to teach him an air, or to pronounce some words 
clearly and distinctly, it is absolutely necessary to separate him from other 
birds and animals, in a room where he can hearnothing. Not only are 
the young susceptible of these instructions, the oldest even show the 
most astonishing docility. 


Ampelis garrulus , LINNAEUS ; Le Jaseur de Boheme, BUFFON ; Der gemetne 
Seidenschwanz, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this bird is eight inches, one and a quarter of 
which belong to the tail. The beak is three quarters of an 
inch long, black, short, straight, arched above, and large at 
the base, forming a large opening when the mandibles are 
separated ; the iris is brown ; the shanks nearly an inch high, 
and black. The whole body is covered with soft silky feathers ; 
those at the top of the head are long, and rise in a crest ; the 
head and the rest of the upper part of the body are of a reddish 
ash-colour, changing to gray at the rump ; the middle coverts 
are dark ash gray, with the ends white also, besides which, the 
shaft of many has a horny tip, shining and red, like a little 
oval bit of sealing-wax. The female has at most but five of 
these waxen tips to each wing, while the male has from five to 
nine ; the tail is black, terminated with primrose yellow ; very 
old males have also upon it narrow red wax tips. 

In the female, the black spot on the throat is smaller ; the 
yellow at the end of the tail is also narrower and paler ; the 


tips of the wings are of a yellowish white ; lastly, the homy 
appendages are small, and often they do not appear at all. 

HABITATION When wild it does not build in Germany, but within the 

Arctic circle ; it is found in Thuringia only in the winter, and if the season 
is mild in very small numbers, the greater portion remaining in the north ; 
but in severe cold it advances farther south. In moderate seasons it is 
found in great flights in the skirts of the forests throughout the greater part 
of Germany and Bohemia. 

In confinement, it is generally kept in a grated corner, where it may run 
about freely with the other birds which are also placed there, taking care 
to keep it at a distance from the stove, the heat of which is so distressing 
that it opens its beak and breathes with difficulty ; this proves that a warm 
climate .is not congenial to the bird. If kept in a cage, it requires one as 
large as the thrush ; and, as it is a very dirty bird, the bottom must be 
regularly covered with a sufficient quantity of sand. 

FOOD. When wild we see it in the spring eating, like thrushes, all sorts 
of flies and other insects; in autumn and winter different kinds of berries; 
and, in times of need, the buds and sprouts of the beech, maple, and various 
fruit trees. 

In confinement the two universal pastes appear delicacies to it ; and it 
is even satisfied with bran steeped in water. It swallows every thing vora- 
ciously, and refuses nothing eatable, such as potatoes, cabbage, salad, fruits 
of all sorts, and especially white bread. It likes to bathe, or rather to 
sprinkle itself with water, for it does not wet itself so much as other birds. 

MODE OF TAKING. It is taken in nooses, to which berries are fixed, 
which, for this purpose, should always be kept in store till February; at- 
tracted by the bait it falls into the snare. It appears to be frightened at 
nothing, for it flies into nets and traps, though it sees its companions caught 
and hanging, and uttering cries of distress and fear. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Nothing but its beauty and scarcity can ren- 
der the possession of it desirable ; for it is a stupid, lazy bird. During the 
ten or twelve years that it can exist in confinement, and on very meagre 
food, it does nothing but eat and repose for digestion. If hunger induces it 
to move, its step is awkward, and its jumps so clumsy as to be disagreeable 
to the eye. Its song consists only of weak and uncertain whistling, a little 
resembling the thrush, but not so loud. While singing, it moves the crest 
up and down, but hardly moves the throat. If this warbling is somewhat 
unmusical, it has the merit of continuing throughout every season of the 
year. When the Bohemian chatterer is angry, which happens sometimes 
near the common feeding-trough, it knocks very violently with its beak. 
It is easily tamed, but is agreeable only by its beautiful colours, for it is 
very dirty. It is the greatest eater among birds that I know, being able to 
devour in a day a quantity of food equal to its own weight. It conse- 
quently passes hardly half digested, and, what is very disgusting, it is seen, 
like the ostrich, to eat again this excrement, if it is destitute of fresh food. 
I have observed it in this way swallow three times juniper berries which 
I had given it. In consequence of this voraciousness it must be cleaned 
very often to be kept sweet 


Cinclus aquaticus, BECHSTEIN; Le Merle d'Eau, BUFFON; Der Wasser- 
schwatzer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird resembles the starling in size, but the head is 
more pointed, and the body, in general, larger, while the 
wings and tail are shorter, the tail being only one inch and a 
quarter long, and the ends of the wings cover a fourth part of 
it ; the beak is three quarters of an inch long, narrow, flattish 
at the sides, raised in the middle, sharp and black ; the narrow 
nostrils are almost entirely closed by a membrane ; the iris is 
light brown; the shanks are an inch high, and of a dark 
brown, and have the four toes united together ; the head and 
upper part of the neck are of a dusky rust brown ; the rest of 
the upper part of the body is black, with an ashy gray tint ; 
the quill-feathers and tail are blackish ; the neck to half-way 
down the breast is pure white ; the rest of the breast is deep 
maroon, which shades into the black of the belly. 

In the female the head and upper part of the neck are 
lighter, and the white of the breast is not so pure as in the male. 

HABITATION. When wild it frequents by preference the banks of rivers 
and streams in mountainous countries, and remains all the year near those 
whose waters flow from springs which never freeze. 


In confinement it has a cage like the thrush, unless it is by preference 
allowed to run about the room. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds upon aquatic insects, worms, and even small 
fish, which it is said to seize by diving. 

In confinement it becomes insensibly accustomed to one of the universal 
pastes, by at first giving it worms, and the eggs of ants and flies. 

BREEDING. The female lays from four to six eggs in a rather large nest, 
which she places in a crack of the rocks at the edge of the water, or in 
dikes under mill-dams, the wooden gutters of mills, or between the wings 
of old water-wheels which are not in use. The young may be reared on 
meal-worms, ants' eggs, and white bread soaked in milk. It is just as 
well not to take them till they are ready to fly. 

MODE OF TAKING. Each pair has a chosen spot, which it seldom leaves : 
and they are generally seen there either on a trough, a stone, dike, or a 
bush growing near ; by fixing close to these places limed twigs, to which 
are fastened worms, which writhe about and attract attention, it is very 
easy to catch them. 

As soon as one of these birds is caught and caged, he must be put in a 
quiet place, be fed with earth and meal-worms, and thus be gradually ac- 
customed to the common food. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the dipper is not disagreeable ; 
he has, indeed, some very sonorous strains, which in the distance and 
during winter have a very good effect. He also sings in the night. 


Turdus viscivorus, LINNAEUS ; La Draine, BUFFON ; Die Misteldrossel, BECHSTEIN 

THIS is the largest of our thrushes, being in length eleven 
inches, three and a half of which belong to the tail. The beak 
is one inch in length, sharp, dark brown, with the lower base 
and opening yellow ; the iris is brown ; the shanks an inch 
high, and of a pale dusky yellow. All the upper part of the 
body is a brownish gray, with a reddish tint on the lower part 
of the back and rump ; the sides of the head and the rest of 
the under part of the body are of a pale yellow, with blackish 
triangular spots on the breast, arid oval spots in all other parts. 

The female is generally lighter in all the colours. 

HABITATION. When wild the missel thrush is found all over Europe, 
but more in the north than the south. It lives in forests, especially those 
of the mountains, and prefers those of fir to oak and beech. In Thuringia 
it is a bird of passage, disappearing in December and returning in the 
month of February, provided the weather is fine *. 

* In England it continues throughout the year. TRANSLATOR. 


In confinement it is common to assign it a grated corner of the room 
unless a cage is preferred, which must be at least three feet and a half 
long, and nearly as many high, a size necessary for it to take the exercise 
suited to its vivacity and petulance, without injuring its feathers. It would 
be still better if it could be allowed, as other birds of its size, an aviary or 
room to itself, where its copious excrements would be less troublesome. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds on insects and earth-worms, which it finds 
in abundance in fields and swamps during the spring and summer ; in 
autumn and winter berries of all sorts make a great addition. 

In confinement it is not dainty. The two universal pastes are very well 
liked, but it will put up with plain oatmeal, or even bran moistened with 
water. It is thus that our bird-fanciers feed it throughout the year, as well 
as many other large birds caught in traps, which they are obliged to keep 
as a lure for the snare. It is true, that if this meagre diet is sufficient to 
keep it alive, it will hardly serve to enliven it and make it sing ; for this 
purpose it must be better fed, with bread and milk, meat, and other dishes 
served at table, none of which it refuses ; and it must also be allowed to 
bathe, since nothing does it more good, or enlivens it so much. 

BREEDING. Its nest, which it places higher or lower in the trees of the 
forest, is formed at bottom of herb-stalks and lichens, in the middle of 
earth, and in the interior of mosses, fine roots and hay : it lays twice a 
year, generally each time four greenish white eggs, a little speckled with 
violet and maroon. The young birds are gray above and very much spot- 
ted under, with a wide edge of rusty yellow on the wing feathers. Much 
less docile and susceptible of instruction than the blackbird, they hardly 
remember any little thing which they hear continually, but they become 
so familiar as to sing without difficulty on the hand. They are fed with 
white bread soaked in boiled milk. 

DISEASES. The commonest disorders of this bird, are an obstruction of 
the rump gland, constipation, and atrophy *. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds are taken in autumn with nets and 
snares, with berries for the bait, and they are caught in great numbers. 
They may also be taken in February, by placing under the trees on which 
the mistleto grows, perches with limed twigs. They may also be caught 
in the water-traps at sunset. Those which are yellowish under the body, 
being males, are chosen for confinement. During the first days of captivity, 
they are savage, sulky, and often refuse to eat, so that many perish in this 
way ; those which are saved soon repay the trouble by their songs and 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES Perched on the top of a tree in the woods, 
the missel thrush begins, in the month of February, to utter his melancholy 
but musical warblings, consisting of five or six broken strains, and continues 
singing for- four or five months. As his song is too loud for the sitting- 
room, this bird should be placed in a large hall, or his cage should be hung 
outside a window. He lives in captivity from ten to twelve years. His 
call very much resembles " m, r, r, r." 

* Bathing may prevent the first ; boiled bread and milk administered seasonably 
relieves, and even entirely cures, the other. TRANSLATOR. 


Turdus musicus, LINNAEUS ; LaGrive.BuFFON; Die Siugdrossel, BECHSTEIN. 

WE might, with Brisson, name this bird the small missel 
thrush, so much does it resemble the preceding in form, 
plumage, abode, manners, and gait. Its length is only eight 
inches and a half, three and a half of which belong to the tail. 
The beak is three quarters of an inch, horn brown, the under 
part yellowish at the base and yellow within ; the iris is nut 
brown ; the shanks are an inch high, and of a dingy lead-colour. 
All the upper part of the body is olive brown ; the throat is 
yellowish white, with a black line on each side ; the sides of 
the neck and breast are of a pale reddish white, variegated with 
dark brown spots, shaped liked a heart reversed ; the belly is 
white, and covered with more oval spots. 

In the female the two black lines on the throat are narrower, 
the breast is lighter, and of a plain yellowish white, and the 
reddish spots on the wing-coverts are smaller, These slight 
differences make it desirable for those whose eye is not accus- 
tomed to them, to have both sexes before them, if they wish to 
learn to distinguish them. 

The white variety, that with a white head, the streaked, and 
the ash-coloured, are not very rare. 

HABITATION. When \vild this species is spread all over Europe, frc. 
quenting woods near streams and meadows. As soon as the autumnal fogs 
appear, they collect in large flights to seek a warmer climate *. The princi- 
pal time of passage is from the 15th of September to the 15th of October, 
and of return about the middle or end of March ; each pair then returns to 

* In Britain they remain all the year. TRANSLATOR. 


Its own district, and the male warbles his hymn to spring from the same 
tree where he had sung it the preceding year. 

In confinement this bird is lodged like the missel thrush, and is much 
more worthy of being kept, as its voice is more beautiful, its song is more 
varied, and being smaller it makes less dirt. 

FOOD. When wild it lives on insects and berries, like the preceding. 

In confinement, oatmeal moistened with milk is a very good food ; and 
it requires also a great deal of fresh water, as well for bathing as drinking. 
When taken old it is often very difficult to induce these birds to eat, and 
the greater number die in consequence. 

BREEDING. This species generally builds on the lower branches of trees ; 
the nest being pretty large, and formed of moss mixed with earth or cow- 
dung. The hen lays twice a year, from three to six green eggs, speckled 
with large and small dark brown spots. The first brood is ready to fly by 
the end of April. The upper part of the body in the young ones is speckled 
with white. By taking them from the nest when half-grown they may be 
easily reared on white bread soaked in boiled milk ; and they are easily 
taught to perform airs. As this thrush builds by preference in the neigh- 
bourhood of water, the nest may be easily found by seeking it in the woods 
beside a stream, and near it the male will be heard singing. 

MODE OF TAKING. This is the same as for the preceding species and the 
three which follow ; of all the birds for which snares are laid, those for the 
thrush are most successful. A perch with a limed twig is the best method 
for catching a fine-toned male. In September and October these birds may 
also be caught in the water traps, where they repair at sunrise and sunset, 
and sometimes so late that they cannot be seen, and the ear is the only 
guide. When they enter the water haste must be avoided, because they 
like to bathe in company, and assemble sometimes to the number of ten or 
twelve at once, by means of a particular call. The first which finds a con- 
venient stream, and wishes to go to it, cries in a tone of surprise or joy, 
" siAr, sik, sik, siki, tsac, tsac, tsac ; " immediately all in the neighbour- 
hood reply together, and repair to the place : they enter the bath however 
with much circumspection, and seldom venture till they have seen a red- 
breast bathe without danger ; but the first which ventures is soon followed 
by the others, which begin to quarrel if the place is not large enough for all 
the bathers. In order to attract them, it is a good plan to have a tame bird 
running and fluttering on the banks of the stream. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song thrush is the great charm of our 
woods, which it enlivens by the beauty of its song. The rival of the 
nightingale, it announces in varied accents the return of spring, and con- 
tinues its delightful notes during all the summer months, particularly at 
morning and evening twilight. It is to procure this gratification in his 
dwelling that the bird-fancier rears it, and deprives it of its liberty ; and 
he thus enjoys the pleasures of the woods in the midst of the city. With 
care and properly varied food it may be preserved in captivity five or six 


Turdus pilaris, LINN/EUS ; La Litorne, ou La Tourdelle, BUFFON ; Die Wach- 
holderdrossel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is in size between the two preceding, its length 
being ten inches, of which the tail occupies four. The beak is 
an inch long, blackish at the point, otherwise yellow, as well 
as the opening of the throat and the tongue. The iris is dark 
brown. The shanks, an inch and a quarter high, are deep 
brown ; the top of the head and neck, the cheeks, the bottom 
of the back, and the rump, are ash gray, with some blackish 
spots at the top of the head ; a white line passes above the 
eyes ; the back is rust brown ; the throat and half the breast 
are rusty yellow, strewed with black heart-shaped spots ; the 
rest of the under part of the body is white, with blackish 
heart-shaped spots on the sides, and longer ones towards the 
vent and tail. 

In the female the upper part of the beak is browner, the 
head and rump of a paler gray, the throat whitish, the back 
dingy rust colour, and the feet deep brown. 

Of this species there are many varieties, the white, the 
spotted, the white headed, and the like. 

HABITATION. When wild this species spreads not only all over Europe, 
but also over Syria and Siberia. In the summer it remains in the northern 
regions, where it builds in pine forests. It arrives in Germany and Eng- 
land in prodigious flights in November, and passes the winter in places pro- 
ducing the juniper ; its return northward takes place in the first fine days 
of spring. 

In confinement it is treated like the missel thrush, but it is generally 
only kept as a decoy bird. Heat being injurious, it is kept as far as pos- 
eible from the stove. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds like the two preceding species. 


In confinement it is fed in the same way ; raw carrots grated with bread 
is added, which the others like also. 

MODE OF TAKING. The same as in the two preceding species. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its song is a mere harsh disagreeable warble. 
I should not have introduced it among cage birds if the lovers of bird- 
catching did not in winter require its call when pursuing its species. 


Turdus iliacus, LINN^US ; Le Mauvis, BDFFON ; Die Rothdrossel, BECHST BIN. 

THIS species is smaller than the song thrush, and has much 
resemblance to the fieldfare. Its length is eight inches, of 
which the tail occupies three and a quarter. The beak is 
nearly an inch long, blackish, and yellow only at the base and 
angles of the lower mandible; the iris is nut-brown. The 
shanks are an inch high, and light gray ; the feet are yellow ; 
the head, the upper part of the neck, the back, the rump, and 
the small coverts of the wings, are olive brown. The plumage 
is more brilliant than that of other thrushes, and the orange- 
hue under the wings, which has procured it the name of the 
redwing thrush, will always sufficiently distinguish this from 
those of the same genus. 

The female is altogether lighter coloured. The line of the 
eyes is almost white ; the spots on the sides of the neck light 
yellow ; the under part of the body is white, the neck alone 
appearing yellowish ; the spots on the breast are grayish brown, 
and there are none about the vent. This species also has its 
varieties, as white, streaked, and the like. 

HABITATION. When wild it inhabits the north of Europe ; it goes to 
the south only towards the end of October, and returns at the end of 
March or beginning of April. 


In confinement the redwing is treated like the preceding : but it is not 
much valued, as its song is in no respect agreeable. It always requires 
fresh water and but little warmth. 

FOOD, MODE OF TAKING, DISEASES The same as in the preceding species. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the male is as unmelodious as 
that of the fieldfare. These birds make a great noise when they are col- 
lected in large flights upon the alders, iu March and April, but their war- 
bling hardly deserves the name of song. I have known but one which 
succeeded in imitating, though very indifferently, the notes of the song 
thrush and some loud tones of the nightingale. It is not therefore their 
song which will gain these birds a place in the house ; but they may please 
by their familiarity, their patience, their easy motions, and the readiness 
with which they obey orders. Bird-catchers keep them principally as decoy 
birds. They are good eating. 


Turdus roscus, LINNAEUS ; Le Merle Couleur de Rose, BDFFON ; Die Rosen- 
farbigedrossel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is a bird which from its beauty certainly merits a 
place in this work. Its length is nearly eight inches, of which 
the tail measures three, and the beak one. This latter is 
black, sometimes lead-coloured, from the base to the middle, 
and flesh or rose-coloured from the middle to the point ; the 
iris is whitish ; the shanks are fourteen lines high, lighter or 
darker flesh-coloured ; the claws are blackish. The head, 
neck, and throat, are black, with the tips of the feathers white, 
very much like the starling, and changeable into green, blue, 
and purple ; the feathers at the top of the head are long and 
narrow, and rise elegantly into a crest ; the back, the rump, 
the shoulders, the breast, the belly, and the sides, are of a 
brighter or paler rose-colour, according to the age and season. 

The female differs from the male only in being less highly 
and brilliantly coloured. 

HABITATION When wild these birds are to be met with in many parts 
of Europe and Asia. The inhabitants of Aleppo and the neighbourhood 
see with pleasure the arrival of large flights of them, in the months of 
July and August, to extirpate the clouds of locusts which then ravage the 
country. Great numbers are also seen in spring on the banks of the Don 
and Irtish, where they build and find abundance of food ; also on the 
shores of the Caspian and the banks of the Wolga. In Europe they 
appear in Sweden as far as Lapland, in England, in Germany, in Switzer- 
land, and France ; rare indeed in all these countries, but least so in Italy. 


In confinement this bird is kept in a cage of the same size as the 

FOOD. When wild this bird appears to subsist entirely on insects. 

In confinement it would doubtless thrive very well on the food which 
is given to the blackbird, which will be mentioned hereafter. It is better, 
however, to study it a little, and find out what suits it best. 

BREEDING It builds among rocks ; but its nest has not yet been 

discovered in Europe, though some circumstances indicate that it pro- 
pagates there. In 1784, in the duchy of Altenburg, three young ones 
were killed, but just out of the nest, and which consequently could not 
have come from far. This fact should excite the attention and vigilance of 
zealous observers. 

MODES OF TAKING. Skilful bird-catchers will soon discover the means 
of catching the bird : snares and limed twigs, with grasshoppers and other 
living and moving insects for bait, will probably accomplish this end. It 
would be hazardous to shoot the birds in the hope of wounding them but 
slightly, as is sometimes done with other birds, which soon recover, and 
remain tame, if, during their recovery, they have been well treated. 

OBSERVATIONS A sportsman discovered, in 1794, in the environs of 
Meiningen, in Suabia, a flight of eight or ten rose ouzels, moving leisurely 
from south-west to north-east, and passing from one cherry-tree to another. 
He fired on these birds, only one fell, which was fortunately very slightly 
wounded, so that it soon quite recovered. Being immediately carried to 
M. Von Wachter, the rector of Frickenhausen, this clergyman took the 
greatest care of it ; he gave it a spacious cage, and found that barley-meal 
moistened with milk was as wholesome as agreeable to it. His kindness 
tamed it in a short time so far that it would come and take from his hand 
the insects which he offered to it. It soon sang also, but its warblihg 
consisted at first of but a few harsh sounds, pretty well connected however, 
and this became at length more clear and smooth. Connoisseurs in the 
songs of birds discover in this song a mixture of many others ; one of 
these connoisseurs, who had not discovered the bird, but heard its voice, 
thought he was listening to a concert of two starlings, two goldfinches, and 
perhaps a siskin ; and when he saw that it was a single bird, he could not 
conceive how all this music proceeded from the same throat. This bird 
was still alive in 1802, and the delight of its possessor 


Tardus merula, LINNJEUS ; Le Merle, BUFFON ; Die Schwarzdrossel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, the most docile of its genus, is nine inches and 
a half long, four of which belong to the tail. The beak is an 
inch long, and orange yellow; the iris is dark brown; the 
shanks are an inch high, and black. The whole plumage is of 
a pure velvety black ; the eyelids alone are orange. 



The female is of a brownish black, with the breast of a 
reddish hue, and the belly grayish ; the throat is spotted with 
dark and light brown. It is also rather larger than the male, 
which has led some persons who were not well acquainted with 
it to make another species of it. 

The white variety is very well known ; there is besides the 
streaked, the black with a white head, and the pearl gray. 

HABITATION. When wild the blackbird is found all over the old world 
as well as in Germany ; it is the only species of its genus which does no5 
migrate thence. 

In confinement it is kept in a large cage ; it is better to keej 

because, whether from spite or jealousy, it is often inclined, like the tits, 

to pursue and kill its little companions of the aviary or room, 

FOOD When wild the blackbird eats berries, and, in winter, when 

insects are scarce, he seeks them near warm springs. 

In confinement he is satisfied with the first universal paste, but he also 

eats biead, meat, and anything which comes to table, such as a bit o! 


apple. More delicate than the song thrush, he would not digest mere 
bran and water. He delights in bathing often, and should therefore be 
furnished with the means for so doing. 

BREEDING. As the blackbird does not travel he pairs early in the 
spring, and the first young are hatched by the end of March. The nest, 
placed in a thick bush, or in a heap of boughs, is formed on the outside of 
stalks, then of moss and mud, and lined in the inside with fine hay, hair, 
and wool. The female lays three times a year, from four to six eggs, of a 
greenish gray, spotted and streaked with light brown; when the young are 
hatched the males are always darker than the females, therefore bird- 
catchers can never be mistaken when they take the former and leave the 
latter. They are easily reared on white bread soaked in boiled milk, a 
little raw beef, and worms dipped in water. It is better to take them 
from the nest when the quills of the feathers are just beginning to 
develop, because, having then no idea of their natural song, they will 
retain more perfectly and distinctly the airs which may be taught them. 

DISEASES. An obstruction in the rump gland is their most common 
disorder, and must be treated in the manner described in the Introduction. 
It would doubtless be prevented by never omitting to furnish the means of 
bathing. With care, and a proper variety of food, this bird will five in 
confinement ten or twelve years. 

METHOD OF CATCHING. Timid and distrustful, the blackbird seldom 
enters the area or barn-floor trap, but it is easily caught in the winter 
with a noose or springe, by using service berries for a bait. It sometimes 
falls into the large traps set for tits, when the berries are spread over the 
bottom ; limed twigs put with the berries in a place cleared from the 
snow, will catch many also ; it also goes to the water-trap, but generally at 
night-fall. Its call is " tsizirr, tak, tak" 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The natural song of the blackbird is not 
destitute of melody ; but it is broken by noisy tones, and is agreeable 
only in the open country. When wild it sings only from March to July ; 
but when caged, during the whole year, except when moulting. Its voice 
is so strong and clear, that in a city it may be heard from one end of a 
long street to the other. Its memory is so good, that it retains, without 
mixing them, several airs at once, and it will even repeat little sentences. 
It is a great favourite with the lovers of a plaintive, clear, and musical 
song, and may, in these respects, be preferred to the bullfinch, whose 
voice is softer, more flute-like, but also more melancholy. The price of 
these two birds, if well taught, is about the same. 


Turdus torquatus, LINNAEUS ; Merle a Plastron blanc, BUFFON ; Die Ringdrossel, 

THIS bird is larger than the common blackbird, being in 
length ten inches and a half, four of which belong to the tail. 


The beak is an inch long, raven gray, yellowish white at the 
base of the lower mandible, and yellow at the angles as well 
as inside : the iris is chestnut brown ; the shanks dark brown, 
and fourteen lines high ; the upper part of the body is black ; 
and it is the principal colour of the under part also ; but the 
feathers of the belly and the coverts of the wings are edged 
with white ; the quill-feathers, and the outside feathers of the 
tail are grayish white ; a white spot, tinged with red, and the 
size of the finger, placed transversely on the breast, serves to 
characterize the species, and gives it its name. 

The female is of a brownish black ; the transverse band on 
the breast is narrower, and of a reddish ash-colour, shaded 
with brown. 

Those individuals which combine the brown colour of the 
female with the pectoral band, large, and of a reddish white, 
are young males ; the others, in which it is scarcely discern- 
ible, are young females. 

OBSERVATIONS Though the ring blackbird traverses the whole of Eu- 
rope, it builds only in the north*. It arrives in Germany and England 
ou the foggy days of the end of October and beginning of November. It 
moves always in small flights, stopping generally in spots covered with 
briers and juniper bushes, where it may be caught with a noose. Its food, 
when free and in confinement, is the same as that of the common black- 
bird, with which it has the most striking resemblance in its gait, the mo- 
tion of its wings and tail, and its call, u ta&.'' Its voice, though hoarser 
and deeper, is nevertheless more harmonious and agreeable. It is so weak 
that a redbreast may overpower it. It continues singing at all times, 
except when moulting. It will HTC in confinement from six to ten years. 


Turdus saxatilis, LINNJEUS ; Le Merle de Roche, BUFFON ; Die Steindrossel, 

THIS rare and striking bird is unknown in many parts of 
Germany t. Though its principal characteristics place it in 
the genus of the blackbird, it has more resemblance to the 
starling, both in its manners and gait, which are varied and 
agreeable. Its length is seven inches and a half, two and 

* I have seen the nest in Scotland. TRANSLATOR. 

t It occurs ou the Rhine at Ehrenbreitten, and I have seen it on the Siebengo- 


three quarters of which, helong to the tail. The beak, an inch 
long, and the shanks, an inch and a quarter high, are black. 
The head and neck are grayish blue, or ash blue, lighter in 
the old, and darker in the young birds ; the top of the back is 
dark brown, often varying to a lighter brown, the middle a fine 
white ; the rump, of a dark brown, has the feathers tipped 
with white ; the breast is dark orange, the belly the same ; 
but, according to the season, more or less spotted and undulated 
with white. 

The female is dark brown on the upper part of the body, 
with edges of whitish gray to the feathers ; those of the rump 
are rust-colour, with the same gray edge ; the chin is white ; 
the throat brown ; the under part of the neck, and the whole 
under part of the body, of a dirty orange, with waving lines of 
brown and white ; the tail is paler than that of the male, and 
the feet are dark brown. 

HABITATION. When wild it is found in the south of Europe and Ger- 
many, in Austria, and the Tyrol. In France, in Bugey, and more to the 
south ; and especially in the Alps and Pyrenees, frequenting rocks or old 
ruined castles. In its migrations it visits bare rocky mountains, searching 
for insects which take refuge among the stones. Its departure is in Sep- 
tember and its return in March. 

In confinement it is furnished with a cage larger than that of the night- 

FOOD. When wild it appears to live entirely on insects. 

In confinement it is fed like the nightingale ; but with every care it 
cannot long be preserved. 

BREEDING. The female builds her nest in an almost inaccessible cre- 
vice of the rocks, and lays five eggs. As the young are very susceptible 
of instruction, they are readily brought up when they can be obtained * ; 
they are fed and treated like young nightingales. 

MODE OF TAKING. It is by fixing to the spots they frequent plenty of 
limed twigs, with meal-worms attached to them ; it is said that in the 
Alps and Pyrenees they are caught with a bird-call. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. It is considered one of the most agreeable 
singers ; and if caught young it soon acquires the songs of the other birds 
of the chamber, learns to whistle tunes, and even, like the starling, to re- 
peat words. "It begins to sing,'' says Buffon, "a little before dawn, 
which it announces by noisy sounds. If its cage is approached during the 
night with a candle, it begins to sing ; and when, during the day, it does 
not sing, it appears to be practising in an under tone, and preparing new 

* I purchased two at Coblentz, which lived some time in England. Individuals 
bare been sold in London for seven pounds. TRANSLATOR. 



Turdus solitarius, LINNJEUS ; Le Merle solitaire, BUFFON ; Die Einsame 
Drossel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is eight inches and a half long, three of which 
belong to the tail. The beak is an inch and a quarter long, 
rather crooked at the point, dark brown without, and yellow- 
ish within; the iris is orange. The feet are thirteen lines 
high, and brown. The whole plumage is brown studded with 
little white spots, with a fault tint of blue on the sides of the 
head, the throat, under the body, on the breast and coverts of 
the wings; the rump is brown without spots, and the tail 

The female differs from the male in having the little spots 
of a dirty yellow, and more numerous on the breast than else- 
where, and in being destitute of the blue tint ; and finally, in 
having the pen-feathers and the tail-feathers simply brown. 

HABITATION. When wild it seldom quits the mountains in the south 
of Europe ; in spring, however, it advances as far as Burgundy, and re- 
turns in the end of August ; it arrives, in the month of April, at the spot 
where it generally passes the summer, and returns constantly every year to 
the place where it first took up its abode. Two pairs are seldom found in 
the same district. Except in the pairing season it is a solitary bird. 

In confinement it is furnished with a cage like that of the blackbird. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds on insects, berries, and grapes. 

In confinement it is treated like the song thrush, adding ants' eggs and 

BREEDING. The nest, made of blades of grass and feathers, is generally 
placed at the top of a solitary chimney, or on the summit of an old castle, 
or on the top of a large tree, generally near a steeple or high tower. The 
female lays five or six eggs. The young ones, if taken from the nest soon 
enough, are capable of instruction ; the flexibility of the throat fitting it 
either for tunes or words. They sing also by candle-light in the 'night. If 
treated with care they live in confinement eight or ten years. From the 
summit of a high tower or steeple the male utters for whole days the most 
beautiful and pathetic song, accompanying it by flapping his wings, moving 
his tail, and elevating the feathers of his head. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. His beautiful voice is in great repute in all the 
countries he inhabits ; it is, indeed, very sweet and flute-like ; his song, 
though musical, is somewhat melancholy, as is usual with solitary birds ; 
many persons, however, are very fond of it. This bird, when tamed, fetches 
a very high price at Milan, Constantinople, &c. In some countries it is so 
much respected that it is considered sacrilegious to kill it or destroy its 



Turdus cyaneus, LINNJEUS ; Le Merle bleu, BUFFON ; Die blau Droseel, 

THIS bird is rather larger than the common blackbird, its 
length being eight inches, three of which belong to the tail. 
The beak, fourteen lines in length, is blackish, the iris dark 
nut brown, the eyelids yellow ; the shanks, thirteen lines in 
height, are blackish ; the whole plumage is of an ash blue, but 
each feather has near its tip a transverse brown line, and the tip 
itself is whitish. The individual birds vary in the depth of the 
blue, according to their age and sex. 

The female is generally more uniform in colour than the 

HABITATION. When wild the blue thrush is found in the Archipelago, 
in Dalmatia, Italy, Spain, and other southern countries, always among steep 

In confinement it is provided with a convenient cage, like the preceding. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds on all sorts of insects. 

In confinement it is fed like the nightingale. 

BREEDING. Like the rock thrush it builds among rocks, on ruined or 
deserted towers, and the like. The young are reared in the same way as 
those of the nightingale. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its pretty plumage and fine voice do not con- 
stitute its only attractions. It is very easily tamed, and is very capable of 
instruction, and amuses much by its natural gait and habits, which very 
much resemble those of the rock thrush. 


Turdus arundinaceus, LINNAEUS ; La Rousserole, BUFFON ; Die Rohrdrossel, 

THIS bird has so much resemblance to the whitethroats, as 
to cause a hesitation whether it should be ranged with them or 
with the thrush ; but the form of the beak and feet, and 
generally the whole colour of the body, are in favour of the 
latter. The total length is at most eight inches, four and a 
quarter of which belong to the tail, which is of a rounded 
wedge-shape. The beak is ten lines in length, and strong, 
flattish, brown at the point, yellowish at the base, and orange 


on the inside; the iris is dark maroon. The shanks are an 
inch high, strong, and brownish gray, blending into flesh- 
colour. This bird is so like the nightingale, that if the tail 
were reddish it would be mistaken for it. The top of the head 
and neck are dark gray, with a light olive tint ; a line of dusky 
yellow extends above the eyes from the nostrils to the middle ; 
the cheeks are brownish gray ; the back and the coverts of the 
wings reddish gray, which becomes lighter, and passes at the 
rump into pure rust-colour. 

The female differs from the male only in being smaller, 
rather darker on the upper, and lighter on the lower parts of 
the body ; the white of the throat is less extensive, and the 
upper part of the head is tinged with red, 

HABITATION. When wild it is found all over Europe, with the excep- 
tion of the most northern parts ; it is a stranger in those parts of Germany 
only where there are neither lakes, ponds, nor stagnant rivers abounding 
with rushes ; for it is always on their banks and in large swamps that it 
resides, and more frequently on the ground than in trees *. 

In confinement it is provided with a nightingale's cage. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds on aquatic insects, the enormous multitude 
of which it seems intended to diminish. In order to catch these it is con- 
tinually seen climbing the stems of the rushes and reeds : it also eats 

In confinement, hitherto, no food but that of the nightingale has succeeded 
with it. and that even for only four or six months. It is soon attacked by 
a disease which carries off great numbers of whitethroats : the feathers 
falling off without being renewed, the bird declines and dies of atrophy "f". 

BREEDING. The nest is found fastened with wool to the stems of the 
rushes, or the branches of neighbouring bushes. On the outside it is 
formed of moss and stubble, firmly mixed, and lined on the inside with fine 
hay and hair. The eggs, five or six in number, are grayish white, spotted 
with black. The young, before the first moulting, have the appearance of 
a whitethroat, with some dark spots on the breast. They are taken from 
the nest and reared, like young nightingales, on ants' eggs ; and if they are 
placed near this winged Orpheus, they learn his song so well and so per- 
fectly that they become as excellent performers as their masters, with the 
additional advantage of possessing a noise more flute-like and less shrill than 
that of the nightingale. 

* It is not found in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 

t The food of the caged nightingale is probably not sufficiently nutritious for the 
reed thrush ; no doubt, also, it injures the stomach ; perhaps the number of meal- 
worms with which it is supplied should be increased; and small beetles should be 
offered to it, whose wing-cases and claws, not being digested by the insectivorous 
bird, serve to purge the stomach ; its food, in short, should resemble as much as pos- 
sible that of its natural condition TRANSLATOR. 



MODE OF TAKING. The great difficulty of catching this bird makes it 
scarce in our rooms. The only means is to ascertain well the place it fre- 
quents, then to scratch up the earth and throw upon it some meal-\vorms, 
and cover the place with limed twigs. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES With a more beautiful and musical voice, its 
song is also more varied than that of the song-thrush, without being so long, 
so sustained, or so brilliant, as that of the nightingale, with which it most 
deserves to be compared. Some of its couplets resemble those of the black- 
cap, but broken, like those of the song-thrush. When caged it may be 
much improved by imitation of the notes of the nightingale, which the 
young easily copy. It is particularly in the morning and evening that the 
reed-thrush utters his beautiful warblings. Not only is his throat then in 
motion ; his wings, his tail, and his whole body, are agitated as if to follow 
the cadence and the measure. 


Motacilla Luscinia, LINNAEUS ; Le Rossignol, BUFFON ; Die Nachtigall, BECHSTEIN 

THIS bird, whose plumage is very ordinary, is scarcely five 
inches long, two and a half of which belong to the tail. But, in 
confinement, when it is well fed, and especially when it has 
been bred from the nest, it is commonly larger, reaching some- 
tunes the size of a lark. The straight beak is seven lines in 
length, thin, with the two mandibles of nearly the same size, and 
dark brown above, light gray below, flesh-coloured at the base, 
and yellow within ; the iris is brownish grey. The shanks, 
three quarters of an inch high, are flesh-coloured ; the upper 
part of the body is brownish gray, tinted with rust-red, and in 
very old birds is reddish ash-coloured. 

Among individuals in confinement, some are lighter, others 
darker. When placed in the windows of a large well-lighted 
room, which is not exposed to smoke, they are in the upper 
parts dark gray, or light brownish gray, and the feathers have a 


reddish edge ; below they are white, and grayish on the sides. 
But those which are shut up in small ill-lighted rooms, subject 
to smoke, soon lose their colours, the upper part of the body 
becoming dingy red, the under part grayish white, and the sides 
brownish gray. 

Those accustomed to birds distinguish the female at a glance. 
Her shanks are not so high : she is not so erect ; her head is 
not so long and pointed, but rounder ; her neck is shorter, and 
more inclined back ; her eye is smaller and less lively ; and her 
throat is not so white. Notwithstanding these characteristics, 
no other than an experienced person could decide the sex unless 
he had them both before him. 

Nightingales so strongly resemble the female redstart, that 
the latter is often caught and sold for a nightingale, while the 
nightingale in its turn is killed and eaten for a redstart. To 
avoid mistakes, we must observe the following particulars : 
The female redstart is always smaller, and her plumage darker : 
her small feet and beak are blackish ; the red of her tail is 
lighter, and the two middle feathers are blackish, or very dark 
brown j this long slender tail is in continual motion, while the 
nightingale moves his only at intervals, for example, when he 
has hopped a few steps, and he generally carries it raised 
higher than the point of his wings. His step and attitude are 
prouder, and his actions seem more deliberate. When he 
walks, it is by measured regular hops. After a certain num- 
ber he stops, looks at himself, shakes his wings, raises his tail 
gracefully, spreads it a little, stoops his head several times, 
raises his tail again, and proceeds. If any object attracts his 
attention, he bends his head towards it, and generally looks at 
it with only one eye. It is true that he jumps hastily upon 
the insects which constitute his food ; but he does not seize 
them so eagerly as other birds ; on the contrary, he stops short, 
and seems to deliberate whether it is prudent to eat them or 
not. Generally he has a serious circumspect air, but his fore- 
sight is not proportioned to it, for he falls readily into all the 
snares which are laid for him. If he once escapes, however, 
he is not so easily caught again, and becomes as cunning as any 
other bird. The same, indeed, may be said of all birds pursued 
by man. Nightingales are called, in my opinion very unjustly, 
silly and curious ; for a great number of new things may be 


offered them without exciting the least attention ; but scratch 
or dig the earth, and they approach directly, because instinct 
or experience tells them that they shall there find insects, 
which they are very fond of. Many other species of this group 
do the same thing ; for instance, the blackcap and the redbreast, 
without its having been mentioned. These birds do not, how- 
ever, deserve so much of our attention as the nightingale. 

HABITATION. When wild, nightingales are found throughout Europe, as 
far as the north of England and the middle of Sweden : in all Asia, as far 
as the temperate regions of Siberia ; and in Africa on the banks of the 
Nile. They every where choose for their residence places which are shady, 
cool, but not cold, such as woods, thickets, and even mere hedges in the 
fields. They do not go beyond the skirts of the forests on high chains of 
mountains, and never stop on elevations where the air is too keen. Groves, 
thick brambles, tufted bushes near fields and meadows, are their favourite 
abodes. They also like gardens planted with untrimmed elm-hedges, 
which are consequently thick and bushy down to the ground. It is not 
true that they like watery situations, and if they frequent them it is not for 
the water, but because they generally produce thick tufted bushes. It 
must also be owned that their favourite food is more constantly abundant in 
such places, and if the cold destroys the insects elsewhere, plenty may 
always be found in them. It is not however the less certain that the water 
is not the attraction, or all would repair to its vicinity, which experience 
contradicts. The fact is, that each nightingale generally establishes himself 
in the place which gave him birth, whether near the water or not, whether 
in an orchard or on a mountain ; and when once he has fixed on a spot, he 
returns to it every year, unless the place has lost its charm or advantage. 
If the wood for instance has been cut down, or has lost the thick shade, 
which was its chief merit, in such circumstances he seeks in the neighbour- 
hood another spot more to his liking. But if, in a considerable circuit 
where no change has taken place, a nightingale is seen to establish himself 
in a spot which was unoccupied the preceding year, it may be concluded 
that it is a young bird which was born in the vicinity. Convenient places 
are so much valued, that if the possessors die or are caught, new comers 
seize upon them immediately ; so that the bird which we hear to-day, is 
very possibly not the same which sang yesterday in the same place. Many 
other causes may also concur in producing this change of inhabitants, which 
an ear well versed in the language of these birds will always discover. 

It may, perhaps, be asked why, in many places which appear so well 
adapted to attract nightingales, none are found *. I reply that these spots 
may be concealed by woods or mountains, and not lie perceived by the 
nightingales in their journeys, or they may be quite out of their route, for 
they have a regular one which they never quit, because, their progress being 

* There are some countries which appear not adapted for nightingales, and in 
which they never stop, as in France, in Le Bugey, as high as Nantua, a part of Hol- 
land, North Wales, the north of England, excepting the county of York, and all Scot- 
land and Ireland. 


slow, and subject to interruptions, it is requisite that they should find on 
their passage every thing necessary for their subsistence, and too cold an 
atmosphere is painful to them. It may also happen that the nightingales 
which formerly frequented them, may have been altogether extirpated ; 
and as it has been said that the young always establish themselves in the 
district which gave them birth, it is by no means surprising that they should 
not be chosen, at least there are many chances against it. Rather than 
wait in vain for this chance, there is a means of re-peopling such places with 
these charming birds. It is only necessary to bring up some broods of 
young ones, and not let them loose in the following spring till after the 
period of return is elapsed ; because being no longer excited by the instinct 
which induces them to travel, and the instinct itself being subdued in a 
great measure by their imprisoned education, they will not wander, but 
will remain and propagate, provided they are not disturbed, and will retxirn 
the year following with all their family. I must not omit to say that the 
young intended for this re-peopling must not be confined in a cage, as they 
would lose the use of their wings, and run the risk of perishing the first day 
of their liberation. As soon as they can feed themselves, they must be allowed 
an entire room, in which they may fly freely, and grow strong and bold. A 
sort of grove should be formed of branches or small trees, and nature should 
be imitated as much as possible also in feeding them, by throwing to them 
more insects and ants' eggs than usual, to accustom them to seek for them. 

The period of the nightingale's return throughout the greater part of 
Germany, is the middle of April, rarely either earlier or later * : it is 
always when the white-thorn begins to expand its leaves. Advancing 
slowly and gradually, these birds are not so likely to suffer from bad 
weather as those which go straight to their destination by one stage. In 
the middle of August each family prepares to depart ; this is done quietly, 
removing gradually, and passing from grove to grove to the end of their 
journey ; then it is that these birds are caught with nooses or springes, by 
using elderberries or currants for a bait. The middle of September is the 
latest period at which they are seen in Germany. All then disappear 
imperceptibly, so that the time they employ in the rest of their journey is 
altogether unknown. Other birds, whose instinct leads them to travel in 
large flights, do not so easily escape observation. If by accident a 
nightingale is met with at the end of September, or in October, it must 
have been delayed by some peculiar circumstance ; for instance, it may be 
a young one that has lost its way, or that was hatched late, or it may be 
an invalid. 

In confinement nightingales may be allowed to fly freely, as I have 
often permitted them ; but they do not then sing so well as when in a 
cage, where they are less subject to interruptions, and where also they 
live longer and more healthily, from being fed with more care and 
regularity. The nightingale's cage, of whatever form, must not be less 
than a foot and a half in length, by about one, in width, and one or more 
in height. The top should be made of linen or soft stuff, that when 

* In Italy they arrive in March, and depart in the beginning of November. 
In England they arrive in April and May, and depart in the month of September, 


jumping and struggling, especially when first caught, he may not injure 
his head. The drinking-cup and feeding-trough are fastened on the 
outside, unless it is preferred to introduce the latter within, in the form of 
a drawer. The following are the best form and proportions for a 
nightingale's cage, that I am acquainted with : Length, one foot and a 
half; breadth, eight inches; height, fifteen inches in the middle ; thirteen 
at the sides, because the roof is arched. The sides are made of osiers 
about a quarter of an inch thick; the bottom is made of the same 
material, but it is covered by a drawer an inch and a quarter in depth. 
In order to clean it more easily, I cover it with coarse paper, which I 
renew every time. The feeding-trough is introduced on one side, with 
edges high enough to prevent the bird's spilling too much of the food. 
In the middle of the front of the cage, and extending from top to bottom, 
is a cylindrical projection in the form of a belfry, in which is suspended a 
large drinking-glass. The upper stick of the cage is confined here, termi- 
nating in a fork, or fixed to a semi-circle, that the projection may not be 
prevented from moving. This projection is made of osiers, like the rest 
of the cage. The middle and lower sticks are covered with green cloth, 
firmly sewed on, that the nightingale may have a softer perch, and not 
have his feet so soon injured, which is very common with imprisoned birds. 
The arched roof is also covered with green stuff, which is painted that 
colour with oil paint, as well as the whole of the cage. But it must be 
well dried, and quite free from smell before the bird is put into it. 

My reasons for preferring this cage are, first, because being small, it 
occupies less room, without disadvantage to the bird or to the apartment ; 
second, because the size of the osiers leave small intervals for the admis- 
sion of light, and it is eonsequentlv darker: third, because the bird can 
bathe without wetting his cage or his perches : and consequently his feet 
remain cleaner and more healthy. 

As to the situation of the cage, the prisoner's taste must be consulted. 
Some nightingales dislike being in the window, and prefer a dark corner of 
the room; others like the light and the sun. If it is wished that a 
nightingale should sing everywhere, it is necessary, when he is moulting, 
and before he resumes his song, to accustom him to a change of place, by 
carrying him sometimes here, sometimes there. Some will sing only 
when they are alone, while others like to perform alternately with a 
neighbour ; but they never sing so loud and well when there are several 
in a room. Perhaps jealousy is the chief cause of this. On these occasions, 
the first that begins generally maintains the superiority ; the others sing 
only when he stops, and this but seldom, and in an under tone. Some 
are so sulky that they will not sing at all. Some of these obstinate 
pouters are occasionally, from their silence, mistaken for females, and 
consequently dismissed from the room, but when they find themselves 
alone they begin to sing at full stretch. 

FOOD. When wild nightingales feed on insects, especially little green 
caterpillars, of which they clear the bushes and trees, small butterflies, 
flies, and beetles, and the grubs of insects hid among moss or in the 
earth, which are discovered by turning it up. At their departure, towards 
the end of summer, they also eat elderberries and currants. 


In confinement, meal worms and fresh ants' eggs are the first things 
which should be offered to birds which are just caught ; in place of these, 
when it is not possible to procure them, some persons prepare a mixture 
of hard eggs, ox heart, and white bread, some mouthfuls of which they 
force the birds to swallow, and then throw some meal worms on the 
rest, to induce the nightingale to eat it ; but this artificial food is so unfit 
for these birds, especially at first, that it kills the greater number. They 
may also be injured by forcibly opening their delicate beak. When ants' 
eggs cannot be procured, it is better to set the birds at liberty than thus 
to sacrifice them. Their best food in summer is ants' eggs, to which are 
daily added two or three meal worms * ; when none of the former remain 
fresh they must be supplied by dried or rather roasted ox heart and raw 
carrot, both grated, and then mixed with dried ants' eggs *f*. The carrot, 
which may be preserved fresh in sand in the cellar, prevents heat in the 
stomach and bowels ; a little lean beaf or mutton minced small may also 
be used sometimes ; after different trials, it is in this way I feed my 
nightingales. The cheapest food is very ripe elderberries, dried and 
mixed with ants' eggs, in the same way as the carrots and white bread. 

Some bird-fanciers, in winter, bake a little loaf made of the flour of peas 
and eggs, which they grate, moisten, and then mix with dried ants' eggs ; 
others, who would still be more economical, pound poppy-seeds in a mortar 
to express the oil, and then mix them with the crumb of white bread ; when 
accustomed to it the birds seem very fond of it, but a proof that it does not 
agree with them is that they soon fall into a decline and die. This plan 
has lately been introduced into Thuringia ; but knowing, as I do from ex- 
perience, that the stomach of the nightingale is not formed to digest such 
food, since he is not graminivorous, I take care never to administer it ; and 
I think I ought to warn others against it. The best will always be the 
simplest, and that which is most conformable to nature. Those who adopt 

* The means of always having a plentiful supply of meal worms is to fill a 
large earthenware or brown stone jar with wheat bran, barley or oatmeal, and 
put into it some pieces of sugar paper or old shoe leather. Into each of these 
jars, of about two quarts in size, half a pint of meal worms is thrown (these 
may be bought at any baker's or miller's), and by leaving them quiet for three 
months, covered with a bit of woollen cloth soaked in beer, or merely in water, 
they will change into beetles ( Tenebrio Molitor, Linnaeus)- These insects soon 
propagate by eggs, which renew and increase the number of maggots so much that 
one Mich jar will maintain a nightingale. AUTHOR. 

t Many persons who are not in a situation to buy ants' eggs (improperly so 
called, since they are the pupae in their cocoons), will doubtless be glad to know 
the method used for getting them out of the ant-hill. A fine sunny day in summer 
is chosen, and, provided with a shovel, we begin by gently uncovering a nest of the 
large wood ants (Formica rufa, Linnaeus), till we arrive at the eggs; these are 
then taken ,away, and placed in the sun, in the middle of a cloth whose corners 
are turned up over little branches well covered with leaves. The ants, in order 
to protect the eggs from the heat of the sun, quickly remove them under the 
shelter which is prepai -d for them. In this manner they are easily obtained freed 
from dirt, and from the ants also. In the absence of a cloth a smooth place is 
chosen, around which some small furrows are cut, over which the branches are 
laid, which leads to the same result. AUTHOR. 



that which I have mentioned will have the satisfaction of finding their 
nightingales healthy, cheerful, active, and good singers. 

I have already said that I have tried letting them run about the room, 
feeding them upon the common universal paste; but this food is not suffi- 
ciently nutritious for them : on this diet they can hardly pass six months 
without falling into a decline, and they would inevitably perish if they were 
not speedily restored to one which is fitter for them. They require fresh 
water every day, as well for bathing as drinking; they habitually bathe, 
when caged, after singing. They have also been observed to do so the first 
thing in the evening, when the candles were lighted. 

BREEDING. Each nightingale has his little district; and if in the pairing 
season several males are found together, very angry battles take place, which 
end in the flight of the weakest. The commonest quarrels of this kind are 
between fathers and sons. The latter, having been born in the place, de- 
termine to fix themselves in it ; all feeling of relationship is then extin- 
guished, and they are strangers ; the relations of father and son, those sweet 
ties, hitherto so close, are suddenly broken, never more to be felt. 

The nest is built in a grove or orchard, among a heap of branches, or on 
a thorn bush, or the trunk of a tree surrounded by briars ; or even on the 
ground when it may be hid by tall grass or thick bushes. Its form is 
simple and inartificial, on the outside dry leaves, on the inside hay, fine 
roots, with the hair of animals, is all the apparatus. The female lays from 
four to six eggs, of a brownish green, on which she sits a fortnight. The 
young are fed with small caterpillars and butterflies. As the low position 
of the nest exposes them to become the prey of carnivorous quadrupeds, 
they soon quit it, even before they can fly. Their plumage before moulting 
has no resemblance to that of the old birds except the red of the tail ; the 
upper part of the body is of a reddish grey, spotted with yellowish white on 
the head and coverts of the wings ; the under part is of a rusty yellow, 
spotted on the breast with dark brown ; but after moulting the resemblance 
is so perfect that they can hardly be distinguished. If, therefore, any of 
these birds are caught towards the end of summer, they are carefully exa- 
mined on the back of the head, round the eyes, and under the beak and 
neck, for, provided there remains in these places a small feather, or mere 
yellow point, it is sufficient to ascertain that they are young. As these are 
the only means of judging, if no marks appear, it is necessary to wait for a 
few days till the bird begins to sing. This, however, is not a sure sigu, as 
the young females sing as well as the males, till the month of April, though 
in a weaker and mere unconnected way, and without so visibly swelling 
their throats : it is by these nice observations that connoisseurs succeed in 
distinguishing them. It may also be remarked, as a help to those who wish 
to rear nightingales, that, when in the nest, those which are marked with 
white, and especially those which have a white throat, are males ; the reddest 
and brownest being always females. The young, when taken, are fed with 
ants' eggs mixed with white bread, grated and moistened. The males begin 
to warble even before their tails are quite grown : if the father and mother 
are taken at the same time as the young ones, they will, when caged, con- 
tinue to feed them as before. It is said that nightingales sometimes build 
in the bird room ; this, however, can only succeed by giving up to a tame 


healthy pair a whole room, in which a sort of grove should be foraied of 

DISEASES. In general moulting amounts to a disease among nightingales : 
at this critical time they require a more succulent diet, and sometimes a 
spider by way of purgative. If their stomach is disordered they puff up 
their feathers, half shut their eyes, and remain for hours with their head 
under their wing. They are relieved and cured by ants' eggs, some spiders, 
and by giving them occasionally water impregnated with saffron till it is of 
an orange colour, to drink. 

As to those diseases which they have in common with other birds, they 
are treated according to the directions given in the Introduction. It is 
especially necessary, every three months, carefully to remove the large scales 
from their legs and toes. A nightingale may be kept in confinement fifteen 
years ; whilst in a wild state they are never observed to exist so long in 
the same spot, which seems to prove that they do not attain so great an age 
when exposed to all sorts of accidents, both from birds of prey and bird- 
catchers. I have an instance of a nightingale which has lived twenty-five 
years in confinement. When they have reached six years they begin to 
sing less frequently and long, with less brilliancy and ornament ; it is then 
better to set them at liberty in the month of May. The open air often 
invigorates them so much that they regain their song in all its force and 

MODE OF TAKING. Nothing is easier than to catch a nightingale in the 
season of pairing. If a little furrow, smooth at the bottom, is dug in a dark 
soil, and some meal worms or ants' eggs are thrown into it, he will imme- 
diately fly to these delicacies. By putting also in the same place limed 
twigs, or a small net which may be easily dropped, he will, soon be caught ; 
it is even sufficient to fix over the furrow a bit of wood supported by a 
stick, which will fall as soon as the bird perches upon it. He is so un- 
suspicious that he observes the snare being laid, and then foolishly falls into 
it, when the bird-catcher has moved only a few steps from it ; he will even 
allow himself to be led to it when at a little distance, if in a gentle manner. 
A birdcatcher may thus, in a few hours, depopulate a whole district of these 
delightful songsters. If, however, this is feared, there is a means of baffling 
his intentions, by anticipating him, and catching the "nightingale we wish to 
preserve in our neighbourhood, either by a limed twig or in a net, and 
letting him go again. This experiment will prevent his falling so readily 
into the snare in future. In the greater part of Germany, indeed, it is for- 
bidden, under a very heavy penalty, to catch nightingales. Another mode 
of taking them is by nooses and springes, and suspending for a bait, instead 
of berries, live meal-worms ; but there is one disadvantage attending it, while 
struggling the bird almost always injures his feet, especially in springes. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The first good quality of a nightingale is un- 
doubtedly its fine voice, and notes which 1 shall endeavour to describe. The 
nightingale expresses his different emotions by suitable and particular tones. 
The most unmeaning cry when he is alone appears to be a simple whistle 
filt, but if the syllable err is added, it is then the call of the male to the 
female. The sign of displeasure or fear is fitt repeated rapidly and loudly 
before adding the terminating err; whilst that of satisfaction and pleasure 


such, for example, as conjugal endearments, or on the occasion of finding 
a delicate morsel, is a deep tack, which may be imitated by smacking the 

In anger, jealousy, rivalry, or any extraordinary event, he utters hoarse 
disagreeable sounds, somewhat like a jay or a cat. Lastly, in the season of 
pairing, when the male and female entice and pursue each other, from the 
top of a tree to its base, and thence again to the top, a gentle subdued 
warbling is all that is heard. 

Nature has granted these tones to both sexes; but the male is particu- 
larly endowed with so very striking a musical talent, that in this respect 
he surpasses all birds, and has acquired the name of the king of songsters. 
The strength of his vocal organ is indeed .wonderful ; and it has been found 
that the muscles of his larynx are much more powerful than those of any 
other bird. But it is less the strength than the compass, flexibility, pro- 
digious variety, and harmony of his voice which make it so admired by all 
lovers of the beautiful. Sometimes dwelling for minutes on a strain com- 
posed of only two or three melancholy tones, he begins in an under voice, 
and swelling it gradually by the most superb crescendo to the highest point 
of strength, he ends it by a dying cadence; or it consists of a rapid succes- 
sion of more brilliant sounds, terminated, like many other strains of his 
song, by some detached ascending notes. Twenty-four different strains or 
couplets may be reckoned in the song of a fine nightingale, without in- 
cluding its delicate little variations ; for among these, as among other 
musicians, there are some great performers and many middling ones. This 
song is so articulate, so speaking, that it may be very well written. The 
following is a trial which I have made on that of a nightingale in mj 
neighbourhood, which passes for a very capital singer* : 

Tiou, tiou, tiod, tiou. 

Spe, tiou, squa. 

Tio, tio, tio, ti6, tio, tio, tio, tix. 

Coutio, coutio, coutio, coutio. 

Squo, squo, squo, squo. 

Tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tei. 

Corror, tiou, squa, pipiqui. 


Tsissisi , tsissisisisisisisis. 

Dzorre, dzorre, dzorre, dzorre, hi. 

Tzntu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzalu, tzatu, dzi. 

Dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo. 

Quio, tr rrrrrrrr itz. 

Lu, lu, lu, lu, ly, ly, ly, ly, l& lit, lie, /tef. 

Quio, didl li lulylie. 

Hagurr, gurr quipio ! 

* English bird-catchers also express the phrases of the nightingale by words, or 
particular names, sweet, jug, sweet, pipe rattle, swetswat, swaty, water bubble, skeg, 
skeg, whitlow, whitlow, and the like. 

f I possess a nightingale which repeats these drawling melancholy notes often 
thirty or even fifty times. Many pronounce gu, guy, gui, and others qu, quy, qui. 


Com, com, com, coui, qui, qui, qui, qui, gai, gui, gui, gui * 

Goll goll gol-l goll gnia hadadoi. 

Couigui, horr, ha diadia dill si ! 

Hezezezezezezezezezezezezezezezeze couar ho dze hoi. 

Quia, quia, quid, quia, quia, quia, quia, quia, ti. 

Ki, ki, ki, 'io, 'io, 'io, ioioioio ki. 

Lu ly li le lai la leu lo, did I 'io quia. 

Kigaigaigaigaigaigaigai guiagaigaigai couior dzio dzio pi. 1*. 

If we could understand the sense of these words, we should doubtless 
discover the expression of the sensations of this delightful songster. It is 
true that the nightingales of all countries, the south as well as the north, 
appear to sing in the same manner ; there is, however, as has been already 
observed, so great a difference in the degree of perfection, that we cannot 
help acknowledging that one has a great superiority over another. Ou 
points of beauty, however, where the senses are the judges, each has his 
peculiar taste. If one nightingale has the talent of dwelling ageeably on 
his notes, another utters his with peculiar brilliancy, a third lengthens out 
his strain in a particular manner, and a fourth excels in the silveriness of 
his voice. All four may excel in their style, and each will find his ad- 
mirer ; and, truly, it is very difficult to decide which merits the palm of 
victory. There are, however, individuals so very superior as to unite all 
the beauties of power and melody ; these are generally birds of the first 
breed, which, having been hatched with the necessary powers, in a district 
well peopled with nightingales, appropriate what is most striking in the 
song of each, whence results this perfect compound, so worthy of our 
admiration. As the return of the males in spring always precedes that of 
the females by seven or eight days, they are constantly heard to sing before 
and after midnight, in order to attract their companions on their journey 
during the fine nights. If their wishes are accomplished they then keep 
silence during the night, and salute the dawn with their first accents, 
which are continued through the day. Some persist in their first season 
in singing before and after midnight, whence they have obtained the name 
of nocturnal nightingales; but they cannot be distinguished till after some 
time, when they are established in their district, and have the society of 
their females. After repeated experiments for many successive years, I 
think I am authorised in affirming that the nocturnal and diurnal night- 
ingales form distinct varieties, which propagate regularly : for if a young 
bird is taken from the nest of a night singer, he, in his turn, will sing at 
the same hours as his father, not the first year, but certainly in the fol- 
lowing J ; while, on the other hand, the young of a day nightingale will 

* These syllables are pronounced in a sharper clearer manner than the pre- 
ceding lu, hi, &c. 

t However difficult, or even impossible, it may be to express this song upon an 
instrument (excepting, however, the jay call, made of tin, on which is placed a 
piece of birch cut in a cross, and which is held between the tongue and the palate), 
yet it is very true that the accompaniment of a good piano produces the most 
agreeable effect AUTHOR. 

t We must not confound true nocturnal nightingales with those which are called 
mopert. A true nocturnal sings from night to morning without stopping, while a 


never sing in the night, even when it is surrounded by nocturnal nightin- 
gales. I have also remarked that the night singers prefer mountainous 
countries, and even mountains themselves, whilst the others prefer plains, 
valleys, and the neighbourhood of water. I will also venture to affirm 
that all the night singers found in the plains have strayed from the moun- 
tains ; thus in my neighbourhood, inclosed in the first chains of the moun- 
tains of Thuringia, we hear only night singers, and in the plains of Gotha 
they know only the day nightingale. 

It is a pity that the time for this delightful bird's song should be so 
short, that is to say, when wild. It endures hardly three months; and 
during this short interval it is not maintained with equal power. At its 
first arrival it is the most beautiful, continued, and impassioned ; when 
the young are hatched, it becomes more rare ; the attentions which they 
require occ 1 pying considerable time. If from time to time the nightin- 
gale's song is heard, it is evident that the fire which animated it is much 
weakened. After midsummer all is ended, nothing is heard but the war- 
bling of the young, which seem to study their father's song, and try to 
imitate it. The nightingale sings much longer in confinemeiit : birds 
which are caught full grown sometimes sing from November to Easter ; 
those which are bred from the nest sing much longer, sometimes as long 
as seven months ; but in order that they may sing well they must be put 
under the instruction of an old nightingale which is a good singer, otherwise 
they will be only stammerers, mutilating their natural song, and inserting 
in a confused manner tones and passages which they have caught from 
other birds. If, however, they have a good instructor, and a good me- 
mory, they imitate perfectly, and often add to their instructor's song some 
beauties of their own, as is usual among young birds *. 

I cannot help here mentioning the cruel and disgusting selfishness of 
some men, who, in order a little to prolong the song of this interesting 
bird, sacrifice to their transient gratification its eyes, by blinding it, as is 
done to the lark and the chaffinch. 

It is said that a nightingale and a female red-breast running free in the 
room will sometimes pair, and produce mulea, but I have no experience on 
this subject. 

I cannot better complete my account of the nightingale's song than by 
transcribing the delightful, though somewhat exaggerated picture, which has 
been given of it by Buffon. " There is no well organised man/' says he, 

moper sings only at intervals, unconnectedly, and always makes pauses of some 
minutes between each strain. All nightingales become mopers when they reach 
five or six years of age ; whence arises the mistake of many persons, who think 
they possess a nocturnal when they have really only a moper. The reverse hap- 
pens sometimes, also ; for a true nocturnal bird, caught such, often loses his power 
after one or two years of captivity, and is then a mere moper. AUTHOR 

* It must, however, be owned, that of twenty young nightingales bred from the 
nest, scarcely one succeeds in all respects. They seldom possess their natural song 
in its purity; they almost invariably introduce, in spite of all their instruction, 
foreign and disagreeable tones. The young which are caught in the month of 
August, before their departure, are the best they hare already learnt their 
father's song, and they perfect it the following spring, if they are placed beside 
a good singer. AUTHOR. 


" to whom the name of the nightingale does not recal some one of those 
fine nights in spring, when the sky being clear, the air calm, all nature 
silent, and as it were attentive, he has listened with delight to the song of 
this chorister of the woods. Several singing birds may be named whose 
voices in some respects may compete with that of the nightingale ; the 
lark, the canary, the greenfinch, the blackcap, the linnet, the goldfinch, the 
common blackbird, the solitary thrush, the American mocking-bird, are 
all listened to with pleasure when the nightingale is silent : some havo 
fine tones, others have their voice as clear as it is soft, others have as fine 
flourishes, but there is not one which the nightingale does not surpass in 
the complete union of all these different talents, and in the prodigious 
variety of his songs ; so that the song of each of the above-named birds is, 
when taken in its whole extent, only one couplet of that of the nightingale. 
The nightingale always charms, and never copies himself servilely; if he 
repeats any passage it is animated with a new accent, embellished by new 
ornaments. He succeeds in all styles, he renders all expressions, he seizes 
all characters, and he also augments their effect by contrast. If this Cory- 
phaeus of the spring prepares to sing a hymn to nature, he begins by a timid 
prelude, by faint uncertain sounds, as if he would try his instrument and 
interest his audience ; then gaining courage he becomes gradually animated, 
warmed, and he soon displays in their plenitude all the resources of his 
incomparable organ, brilliant bursts, lively delicate trills, volleys of notes 
whose distinctness equals their volubility ; an internal dull murmur, not 
itself pleasing to the ear, but very fit to enhance the brilliancy of the 
agreeable strains, sudden, brilliant, and rapid runs, articulated with 
strength, and even a tasteful ruggedness, plaintive accents, tender cadences ; 
sounds dwelt on without art, but swelling with sentiment ; enchantingly 
penetrating notes, the true sighs of voluptuousness and love, which seem tc 
come from the heart, and make all hearts palpitate ; which produce in all 
who are not insensible a delightful emotion, a touching languor. In those 
impassioned tones are recognised the language of sentiment which a happy 
husband addresses to his beloved partner, and which she alone can inspire ; 
while in other strains, more surprising perhaps, but less expressive, are dis- 
covered the simple wish of amusing and pleasing her, or of disputing before 
her the prize of singing with rivals jealous of his glory and happiness. 

" These different strains are interspersed with pauses which in all styles 
of melody concur in producing great effects. We dwell on the beautiful 
notes we have just heard, and which still resound in our ears ; we enjoy 
them the more because the pleasure is more limited, more exclusive, and 
undisturbed by new sensations. Soon we expect, we desire another strain ; 
we hope it may be pleasing ; if we are mistaken, the beauty of what we 
hear will not leave us room to regret that which is only delayed., and the 
interest of hopejis maintained for the strains which will follow. One of 
the reasons why the song of the nightingale is so striking, and produces so 
much effect, is, as Mr. Barington has well said, because he sings in the 
night, which is the most favourable time, and he sings alone, whereby his 
voice is heard in all its splendour, and is undisturbed by any other voice. 
He eclipses all other birds, adds Mr. Barington, by his soft flute-like tones, 
and by the uninterrupted duration of his warole, which lasts sometimes for 
twenty- seconds. The same observer reckoned in this warble sixteen dif- 


ferent strains, well marked by their first and last notes, the intermediate 
notes being tastefully varied by the bird ; and he ascertained that the space 
filled by the nightingale's voice is no less than an English mile in diameter, 
especially when the air is calm : this equals the compass of the human 

" It is surprising that so small a bird, which weighs only half an ounce, 
should have such force in the vocal organs. Mr. Hunter has observed that 
the muscles of the larynx, or gullet, are stronger in proportion, in this 
species, than in any other, and also stronger in the male which sings, than 
in the female which does not sing. 

" Aristotle, and Pliny after him, say, that the song of the nightingale 
lasts in all its strength for fifteen days and fifteen nights uninterruptedly, 
at the time that the trees are putting forth their leaves ; this can refer only 
to wild nightingales, and must not be taken literally ; for these birds are 
not silent either before or after the period fixed by Aristotle. It is true 
they do not continue to sing with so much ardour and constancy. They 
generally begin in the month of April, and do not completely end till the 
month of June, about the time of the solstice; but the time when their 
song diminishes most, is when the young are hatched, because they are 
then occupied in feeding them, and in the order of instincts, that which 
tends to the preservation of the species is pre-eminent. Captive nightin- 
gales continue to sing for nine or ten months, and their song is sustained 
not only for a longer time, but it is more perfect and studied. Hence 
Mr. Barington infers, that in this species, and in many others, the male 
does not sing to amuse the female, and enliven her fatigue when sitting ; 
which appears a very just and probable inference. Indeed, the female 
when she sits performs her office from an instinct, or rather a passion, 
stronger in her than even the passion of love ; she finds in it an internal 
satisfaction of which we can form no idea, but which she appears to feel 
sensibly, and we cannot therefore suppose that at such moments she is in 
any want of consolation. Since then it is neither from duty nor virtue 
that the female sits, neither is it on that account that the male sings : in- 
deed he does not sing during the second incubation. It is love, and espe- 
cially the first season of love, which inspires the song of the bird ; it is in 
spring that they experience the want both to love and to sing ; it is the 
males which have most desire, and it is they who sing the most. They 
continue to sing during the greater part of the year if we preserve around 
them a perpetual spring, which incessantly renews their ardour, without 
affording an occasion for extinguishing it ; this happens to caged nightin- 
gales, and even, as it has been already mentioned, to those which have 
been taken full grown. Some have been known to begin to sing with all 
their strength a few hours after being caught. They must, however, have 
been insensible of their loss of liberty at first. They would starve the first 
seven or eight days if they were not fed, and would injure their heads 
against the top of the cage if their wings were not tied ; but at last the pas- 
sion for singing prevails, because it is produced by a still deeper passion. 

" The songs of other birds, the sounds of instruments, the tones of a 
sweet sonorous voice, excite them much. They run, they approach, at- 
tracted by the sweet sounds ; but duets attract them still more powerfully, 
which would seem to prove that they are sensible to the effects of harmony. 


They do not continue silent auditors, they join the performance, and use 
all their efforts to eclipse their rivals, to surpass all the other voices, and 
even all other sounds. It is said that they have been known to drop down 
dead at the feet of a person singing. Another has been seen fluttering, 
swelling his throat, and uttering an angry warble every time a canary 
which was near him, began to sing; he succeeded by his threats in im- 
posing silence, so true is it, that superiority is not always free from jealousy. 
Can it be in consequence of the passion for pre-eminence, that these birds 
are so careful to seize every advantage, and that they prefer singing in a 
place favourable to sound, or within reach of an echo ? 

"All nightingales do not sing equally well. Some are so very inferior 
as not to be worth keeping. It has even been thought that the song of 
the nightingale is different in different countries. In England, those who 
are curious respecting these birds, prefer, it is said, those of the county of 
Surrey, to those of Middlesex ; as they prefer the greenfinch of Essex, and 
the goldfinch of Kent. This diversity of song among birds of the same 
species has very rationally been compared to the different dialects of the 
same language. The true causes can hardly be assigned, as they are for the 
most part accidental. A nightingale may perhaps have heard other singing 
birds, or emulation may have caused him to perfect his song, which he 
thus transmits improved to his descendants, for every father is the singing 
master of his family ; and it is easy to perceive that in succeeding generations 
the song may be still further improved or modified by similar accidents. 

f ' After the month of June, the nightingale sings no more, and he re- 
tains only a hoarse cry, a sort of croaking, by which the melodious Phi- 
lomel cannot be recognised, and it ; s not surprising that formerly, in Italy, 
they gflve him a different name under these circumstances. He is indeed 
another bird, a bird altogether different in respect of voice, and even, in a 
great degree, in respect of the colour of his plumage. 

" Among nightingales, as well as other species, some females are found 
participating in the constitution of the male, his habits, and especially in 
his musical powers. I have seen, in confinement, one of these female 
singers. Her warble resembled that of the male, but was neither so strong 
nor so varied. She preserved it till spring ; but then subduing the exer- 
cise of her talent to the natural duties of her sex, she became silent, in 
order to build her nest, and to lay, though she was solitary. It appears 
that, in warm countries, such as Greece, it is very common to see these 
female singers, and respecting this species and many others we may draw 
the same inference from a passage of Aristotle. One would hardly imagine 
that so varied a song as that of the nightingale is confined within a single 
octave ; this is, however, the result of the attentive observations of a man 
of taste (M. le docteur Remond). He remarked, indeed, some sharp 
tones which formed the double octave, and which were emitted like light- 
ning ; but this happens rarely, and when the bird by a powerful effort of 
the gullet raises his voice to the octave. 

" The same observer discovered shakes on the third, fourth, and octave, 
but always from sharp to flat ; cadences, generally in the minor, on almost 
every note ; but no arpeggios, no coherent design." 

Independent of these talents, the nightingale possesses a quality very 
likely to augment the number of his friends ; he is capable, after some 


time, of forming attachments. When once he has made acquaintance with 
the person who takes care of him, he distinguishes his step before seeing 
him ; he welcomes him by a cry of joy; and, during the moulting season, 
he is seen making vain efforts to sing, and supplying by the gaiety of his 
movements, and the expression of his looks, the demonstrations of joy 
which his throat refuses to utter. When he loses his benefactor, he some- 
times pines to death ; if he survives it is long before he is accustomed to 
another *. His attachments are long, because they are not hasty, as is the 
case with all wild and timid dispositions. 


Motacilla Luscinia major, LINN^IUS ; Le Grand Rossignol, ou La PrognS f, 
BUFFON ; Der Sprosscr, BECH STEIN. 

NATURALISTS make this bird only a variety, or at most, only 
a species of the common nightingale ; but I find points of dif- 
ference so numerous and so striking, that 1 think it right to 
make it a distinct species. 1. It is larger by an inch and a half in 

* "A nightingale which I had given away," says M. Le Maine, "no longer seeing 
his mistress, left off eating, and was soon reduced to the last gasp ; he could not 
support himself on his perch ! but being restored to his mistress, he revived, ate, 
drank, perched, and had recovered in twenty-four hours. It is said that some have 
been known, when set at liberty in the woods, to return to their masters." It is 
quite certain that they recognise the voice of their masters and mistresses, and 
approach at their call. 

t According to the Greeks, Progn was metamorphosed into a nightingale, and 
Philomel, her sister, into a swallow. The Latins have changed and confused this 
story, which the moderns have, in their turn, copied without examination. 


length, being six inches and a half, of which the tail, also half 
an inch longer, occupies two and three-quarters ; 2. The head 
is larger, and the beak is thicker ; 3. The colours are different ; 
4. The song is different. With respect to gait, manner, habits, 
and the like, it is true there is a resemblance, which exists, 
however, only in common with the whitethroats, and the black- 
cap, which have never been considered as varieties of the night- 

The upper part of the body is a dusky brownish grey ; the 
throat is white bordered with black ; the breast is brown, with 
darker spots ; the belly dirty white ; the wings are deep brown, 
edged with dirty red ; the tail and its upper large coverts dirty 
maroon, deeper than in the common nightingale ; the whole 
plumage, in short, is generally and in all parts deeper and 

OBSERVATIONS. The difference in the song is very remarkable. The 
greater nightingale has a much stronger, louder, and deeper voice ; but it sings 
more slowly and more unconnectedly ; it has not that astonishing variety, 
those charming protractions,and harmonious conclusions of the common night- 
ingale ; it mutilates all the strains ; and, on this account, its song has been 
compared to the missel-thrush, to which, however, it is superior in softness 
and pureness. The common nightingale is superior in delicacy and variety, 
but inferior in force and brilliancy. The greater nightingale sings generally 
in the night, so that it is the real night-singer ; while among nightingales 
this is rather uncommon. Its voice is so loud that it is almost impossible, 
to bear it in a room. It is necessary to keep it always outside the window, 
either by hanging its cage there, or by opening from it a sort of passage into 
which it can remove. 

Its call is also very different ; hi ! glack arrr ! It seems also to pro- 
nounce David, Jacob, and generally begins its song by the latter word. If 
the song is complete, it consists of the following strains : 

Guia, gu, gu, gu. 

Hajai, hajai, dzu, dzu, dzu, dzu. 

Gorgue, gu6gugueguegu(>h, 

Hoa goigoigoi gui. 

Dzicka, dzicka, dzieka. 

Davitt, davitt, davitt. 

Gogock, gogock. 

Guedum, guedum, guedum, guedum, gue'i t 

Gai, ffoi, goi, goi, guirrrr. 

Gofft'a, golka, golka, golk. 

Hia, guiaguiaguiaguia. 


Gueai, gueaiyueai gui ! 

Goi, guaguaguagua guagui. 

Held, heid, held, held hi. 


Voi dada ! voi dada ! 
Gai^gai, gai, gai, guirr,guirr. 
Hoi, gueguegue gui. 
Hoi got, 

This bird is not found in any part of Thuringia. There are some in 
Silesia, Bohemia, Pomerania, near Wittenberg, Halle, and Dessau ; but 
in Austria, Hungary, and Poland, they are in some districts more 
abundant than the common nightingale *. They generally settle among 
the bushes of the hills and plains, and especially near rivers. When 
caged they are fed like nightingales. They are less delicate, however, and 
live much longer. 

They are chiefly brought from Vienna to Thuringia, whence they have 
the name of Vienna Nightingales. Some people make a business of 
fetching them from Hungary, in the beginning of April, where they buy 
them cheap, in order to sell them very dear, in Saxony and other remote 
provinces. Those from Hungary are preferred to the Polish. A dis- 
tinguishing characteristic is, that they first pronounce the davitt or Jacob 
only once when they call ; while the second repeat davitt many times in 

At Thorn, and all along the Vistula, where the common and the large 
nightingale equally abound, the latter is called the Polish Nightingale, 
and the former, the Nightingale of Saxony. The nest of the greater 
nightingale is built like that of the nightingale ; but the eggs are larger, 
and of an olive brown, with dark shades. 

These birds are caught like nightingales ; their diseases, also, are 
similar ; but they appear to suffer still more when moulting : they become 
dull and ill, and often die under it. It is usual to give them at this 
crisis some spiders, and the grubs which gnaw wood ; what, however, 
after many experiments, appears moet salutary, is the Golden Tincture 
of Halle f, one or two drops of which are poured into the drinking" 


Sylvia atricapilla, BECHSTEIN ; La Fauvette a tte noire, BUFFON ; Die schwarz- 
kdpfige Grasmiicke, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS distinguished singer among birds, bears, in Germany, 
the name of Monk^ or Moor, from the black or brown cap 
which covers the top of his head. These two colours have led 

* It is not a native of Britain. TRANSLATOR. 

t To prepare this tincture, take of water four parts, of black oxide of iron one 
part ; boil the oxide with the water, and then pass a current of chlorine gas 
through the mixture till it will absorb no more ; filter the liquor and evaporate 
over a slow fire to the consistence of an extract ; when this is cold, pour upon it 
of hydrochloric ether three parts ; let it macerate without heat for several days ; 
then add of alcoholised hydrochloric acid nine parts ; macerate again, filter th 
liquor, and expose it to the sun. TRANSLATOR. 



some to divide them into two species, but it is quite certain 
that they only designate the sex ; the black marking the male, 
and the brown the female. Its length is five inches and five- 
sixths, two and a half of which belong to the tail. The beak 
is five lines in length, formed like that of the nightingale, and 
is of a brownish blue, with the edges of the lower base and 
the interior of a yellowish white ; the iris maroon ; the feet 
ten lines high, are dark ash-colour ; all the top of the head 
is black ; the cheeks and upper part of the neck are light ash- 
colour ; the upper part of the body, as well as the coverts of 
the wings, ash-colour, tending to olive ; the under part of the 
body is light grey, fading to white under the belly and breast ; 
the sides and thighs are the same colour as the back ; the under 
coverts of the tail and wings are speckled gray and white ; the 
pen-feathers and tail-feathers are dark brown, edged with the 
colour of the back. 

The female is rather larger ; her cap is reddish brown ; the 
upper part of her body reddish grey, tending to olive ; the 
cheeks and throat are light grey ; the breast, the sides, and the 
thighs, are light grey, varying to light olive; the belly is 
reddish white. 

The silky plumage of this bird is so delicate and frail, that 
it is rare to see one in confinement, whether hopping freely, or 
caged, which has not its tail or its wings disfigured. 

HABITATION. When wild, this bird is found throughout Europe, 
inhabiting woods and orchards, or their vicinity ; it particularly loves 
thick copse-wood. In September it leaves our climate, and returns 
about the middle of April, to enliven our woods by its brilliant and well 
supported song. 

In confinement, when it is allowed to hop about, it is provided with a 
branch, or a roost furnished with several sticks, because it walks with 
difficulty, and prefers perching, on which account a cage is better adapted 
to it. At the time for departure, these birds, urged by the instinct to 
travel, are much agitated, especially in the night, by moonlight. The 
desire to rove is so strong, that they often fall ill and die. 

POOD When wild, the blackcap feeds on small caterpillars, butterflies, 

flies, in short, of all kinds, on insects and their grubs ; iu time of need, on 
berries and fruits also *. 

In confinement this bird does very well on the universal paste, with 
which a little bruised hemp seed is mixed, and occasionally meal worms, 
ants' eggs, or insects. In summer and autumn he is supplied with elder- 

This is a mistake ; it is as fond of berries as of insects. -.TRANSLATOR. 


berries, and they are also dried, in order that he may have some in winter, 
soaked in water, which is found very good for his health. He is a great 
eater, and when at liberty in the bird room partakes of everything, meat, 
bread, and even vegetables. As he is generally caught in the autumn he 
is soon accustomed to artificial food, by having elderberries and meal 
worms mixed with it for several successive days. He is fond of bathing, 
and must be always well supplied with fresh water. 

BREEDING This species generally lays but once a year, occasionally 

twice, and even thrice. His nest, placed near the ground, generally in a 
hedge or bush of whitethorn, is hemispherical, solid, and well built ; the 
outside of stalks, deserted cocoons, and stubble, the inside of fine soft hay, 
mixed with hair. It contains from four to six eggs, of a yellowish white 
mottled with yellow and spotted with brown. The young are fed with 
small caterpillars, insects, and currants ; those which are brought up by 
hand are fed with white bread and milk. The charming tone of their 
voice gives to their own song, as well as to that of the nightingale and 
canary, which they easily learn to imitate, a sweetness and grace which are 
enchanting. Before moulting there is so little difference between the 
young males and females that it requires great skill to distinguish them, 
for the cap of the former is only a slight shade darker of olive brown, and 
the back a greyish brown, rather more tinted with olive ; but on the first 
moulting the head of the male begins to blacken first behind the beak, 
while that of the female retains its original colour, except that it becomes 
more bright and distinct. When it is wished to ascertain the sex of these 
young birds, the best plan is to pull out a few brown feathers from the 
head ; if it is a male, black ones will come up in their place, and thus 
there will be no danger of taking females by mistake ; these, however, 
would soon be known, because the males begin to warble as soon as they 
are able to fly and feed themselves. 

DISEASES. The blackcap is subject to the same diseases as the nightin- 
gale, but is more frequently attacked by decline. As soon as the symptoms 
appear he must be fed with a great many meal worms and ants' eggs, and 
his drinking water must be impregnated with iron, by putting a nail into 
it. Those which are left to run about the room are apt to lose their 
feathers. Under such circumstances they must be caged, and exposed to 
the warmth of the sun or the fire ; they must be well fed, especially with 
the food given to nightingales ; these methods generally restore them, and 
their feathers are gradually renewed. A tepid bath, repeated for two or 
three days, is very likely to help their development. In epileptic or 
paralytic attacks I make them swallow, with great success, two or three 
drops of olive oil ; I lately had the pleasure of seeing the success of this 
remedy on a bird of this species suffering from an apoplectic fit, and which 
dragged his little paralysed foot about the room where he lived uncaged ; 
he is now quite recovered, very gay, and active ; his song was never before 
so delightful to me. These birds generally live in captivity as long as 

MODES OF TAKING. Every taste but that of the palate must be destroyed 
if this charming bird is caught for the table. Besides, it is by no means 
numerous ; but if it is desired as an ornament to the house, snares baited 


with currants must be laid for it in July and August, the greatest care being 
taken to save the feet, which are very likely to be broken. Patience is 
very necessary in order to succeed, for it is a very suspicious bird, approach- 
ing slowly, and falling into the snare only when pressed by hunger. The 
same suspicious disposition causes it to repair with repugnance to the water 
trap, though in other situations it delights in water, and often bathes. If it 
perceives anything unusual it will remain for hours without approaching, and 
will pass twenty times by currants which are hung up as a bait without 
touching them, though very greedy of this food ; but if it sees another bird 
bathe, or drink, it takes courage, and soon falls into the trap. The young, 
before moulting, still foolish and inexperienced, are more careless, and may 
be taken in great numbers in autumn ; and in the spring they are as easy 
to catch as the nightingale, by means of a net or limed twigs, in a place 
cleared from moss and turf, and baited with meal worms and ants' eggs. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. It is perhaps a sufficient eulogium to say that 
this bird rivals the nightingale, and many persons even give it the preference, 
If it has less volume, strength, and expression, it is more pure, easy, and 
flute-like in its tones, and its song is perhaps more varied, smooth, and 
delicate. It sings also for a much longer period, both when wild and in 
confinement, its soug being hardly suspended throughout the year by day, 
and prolonged, like that of the nightingale, far into the night, though begun 
at dawn. The female sings also, but in a more limited degree, very much 
like the redbreast, which has caused it to be mistaken for a particular species 
with a redcap. The call is a sort of smart " tack" repeated quickly several 
times. The sudden view of an unknown object, or of an imminent danger, 
makes it utter a hoarse disagreeable cry of fear, very like a cat when 


Sylvia hortensis, LATHAM ; La Fauvette, BUFFON ; Die graue Grasmucke, 

THE length of this bird is five inches, two and a half of which 
belong to the tail. The beak, five lines in length, and formed 

* This bird also has the art of pleasing by his pretty tricks. He shows a striking 
affection for his mistress ; utters a particular sound, a more tender note to welcome 
her ; at her approach he darts against the wires of his cage, and, by a continued 
fluttering, accompanied with little cries, he seems to express his eagerness and gra- 

A young male which I had put in the hothouse for the winter, was accustomed to 
receive from my hand, every time I entered, a meal-worm ; this took place so regu- 
larly, that immediately on my arrival he placed himself near the little jar where I 
kept the meal-worms. If I pretended not to notice this signal he would take flight, 
and, passing close under my nose, immediately resume his post ; and this he re- 
peated, sometimes even striking me with his wing, till I satisfied his wishes and im- 



as in the preceding, is brown below, light lead-colour above, and 
whitish within ; the iris is brownish grey ; the feet, nine lines 
high, are strong, and lead- colour ; the upper part of the body 
is reddish grey, tinted slightly with olive brown ; the cheeks 
are darker, and round the eyes whitish ; the under part of the 
body, including the breast and sides, is light reddish grey ; the 
belly is white as far as the under coverts of the tail, which are 
tinged with reddish grey ; the knees are grey ; the pen-feathers 
and tail-feathers are brownish grey, edged with the colour of 
the back, and spotted with white at the tips; the 'under coverts 
of the wingg are reddish yellow. 

The female differs only in having the under part of the body, 
as far as the breast, of a lighter colour. 

HABITATION. When wild, this bird, which is found all over Europe, 
appears to prefer the groves and bushes which skirt the forests, as well as 
orchards in their vicinity. He arrives some days before the nightingale, 
and departs at the end of September. 

In confinement he is treated like the blackcap, and, being more delicate, 
must be furnished with a cage. 

FOOD. When wild the fauvette feeds on small caterpillars and the other 
little insects which are found on the bushes, where he is continually search- 
ing for them, uttering at the same time the sweetest and softest song. After 
midsummer he appears very fond of cherries ; he eats the pulp up to the 
stone, and this causes his beak to be at this season always stained ; he also 
likes red currants and elderberries. 

In confinement he is so great an eater that if he is not caged he hardly 
ever quits the feeding-trough of the nightingale. Though he is more easily 
tamed than the blackcap, he seldom survives more than two or three years, 
and the artificial food is no doubt the cause. He appears very fond of the 
universal paste ; but I have often observed that it causes the feathers to fall 
off to so great a degree that he becomes almost bare, and then I think he 
dies of cold rather than from any other cause *. 

BREEDING. The nest of the fauvette, placed in a hedge or bush of white- 
thorn, at about three feet above the ground, is well built on the ( outside 
with blades of grass and roots, and inside with the finest and softest hay, 
very seldom with moss. The edges are fastened with spiders' webs and 
dry cocoons. The female lays four or five eggs, of a yellowish white, 
spotted all over with light ash grey and olive brown. The young, which 
are hatched after fifteen days' sitting, are no sooner fledged than they jump 
out of the nest the moment it is approached. 

DISEASES. They are the same as in the blackcap; but the fauvette is 

* No doubt his great voracity weakens his stomach, and by loading the intestines 
with glutinous matter the vessels cannot take up sufficient nourishment ; it is there- 
fore not conveyed sufficiently to the skin and feathers, whence proceed the fall of 
the latter and the enfeeblement of the body. 


still more subject to the loss of its feathers. It fattens so fast upon the 
first universal paste that it often dies from this cause. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds may be caught during the whole of the 
summer with nooses and springes baited with cherries, red currants, or 
elderberries. They go also very readily to the water trap, from seven to 
nine in the morning, and in the evening a little before sunset. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. " Of the inhabitants of our woods," says 
Buffon, " fauvettes are the most numerous and agreeable. Lively, nimble, 
always in motion, they seem occupied only with play and pleasure ; as their 
accents express only joy, it is a pretty sight to watch them sporting, pursu- 
ing, and enticing each other ; their attacks are srentle, and their combats end 
with a song ' " 


Motacilla Fruticeti, LINN^US ; La Petite Fauvette, BUFFON ; Die rostgraue 
Grasmticke, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird, which is but little known, resembles in most 
points the preceding, but its figure is smaller and its plumage 
darker. Its length is four inches and three quarters, of which 
two and a half (being more than half of the whole) belong to 
the tail. The beak, four lines in length, is brown above and 
yellowish white below and on the edges ; the iris dark brown ; 
the feet, nine lines in height, are pale lead-colour; all the 
upper part of the body, comprising the wing-coverts, is dusky 
reddish grey, darker towards the head and lighter towards the 

I have never been able to discover any difference between 
the plumage of the male and female. 

OBSERVATIONS. This bird arrives among us towards the end of April. 
It frequents hilly places covered with bushes and briars, among which it 
builds its nest, about four of five feet from the ground, and among the 
thickest foliage. The eggs, five in number, are whitish, mottled with ; 
bluish brown, and speckled with dark maroon. Incubation lasts but 
thirteen days. At first the young are fed with the smallest caterpillars, 
afterwards with larger ones, flies, and other insects ; but as soon as they 
can fly they accompany their parents in search of cherries, red currants, 
elderberries, and, later in the season, the berries of the service tree. The 
family departs together in the month of September, and then some are 
taken in nooses or springes baited with elderberries. But this species is not 
much valued, and does not therefore excite the attention of bird-catchers, 
who give the preference to the fauvette. 

* This bird is not known in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


However, this bird is an excellent singer, and though his voice is not so 
clear and flute-like as that of the fauvette, yet by skilfully introducing his 
call into his warble, he produces a very striking a,nd agreeable variety. 
This species is fed and treated like the preceding, but with still greater 
care, for it is even more delicate. With all my care I have never been 
able to preserve it more than two years at the utmost : the difficulty, 
however, does not appear to proceed from the diet, for being caught in the 
autumn it soon gets accustomed to the food of the nightingale, by first 
giving it the berries which it selects in a state of freedom. 


Accentor modularis, BECHSTEIN ; La Fauvette d'hiver, ou Traine Buisson, 
BUFFON ; Die Braunelle, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species, which in its gait resembles the wren, seems 
also a link between its own species and that of the lark, for it 
does not confine itself to insects ; it eats all sorts of small 
seeds, such as those of the poppy and the grasses. Its length 
is five inches and a quarter, two and a quarter of which belong 
to the tail. The beak, five lines in length, is very sharp, 
black, whitish at the tip, and the inside rose-colour ; the iris 
purple; the legs, nine lines in height, are yellowish flesh- 
colour ; the narrow head is, together with the neck, dark 
ash-colour, marked with very dark brown, like that of the 
sparrow; the breast a deep slate -colour. 

The breast of the female is lighter and bluish grey ; she has 
also more brown spots on her head. 

HABITATION. When wild it is found all over Europe, making its abode 
in thick deep forests. It is with us a bird of passage ; but some indivi- 
duals, which come from quite the north, remain during the winter near 
our dwellings, searching the heaps of wood and stones, the hedges and 
fences, and, like the wren, entering barns and stables. Those which leave 
us return at the end of March, stop for some time in the hedges, and then 
penetrate into the woods. 

In confinement this bird is so wakeful and gay that it may be safely left 
at liberty in the room, having a roosting-place for the night ; it is also kept 
in a cage. 

Fooo. When wild, the great variety of things which serve it for food 
prevent its ever being at a loss throughout the year. It is equally fond of 
small insects and worms and small seeds. In spring it feeds on flies, ca- 
terpillars, grubs, and maggots, which it seeks for in the hedges, bushes, and 
in the earth. In summer it feeds chiefly on caterpillars ; in autumn on 
seeds of all kinds and elderberries; and" in winter, when the snow has 


covered -all seeds, it has recourse to insects hid in the cracks and crevices 
of walls and trees. 

In confinement it will eat anything that comes to table. It is fond of 
the universal paste, \iemp, rape, and poppy-seeds, and refuses none of these 
things immediately on being imprisoned, and it soon seems as completely 
nt ease as if accustomed to confinement*. 

BREEDING.' This species lays generally twice a year ; placing its nest 
among the thickest bushes, about five or six feet from the ground ; the 
outside is composed of mosses, and fibres of roots, and wood, and the in- 
side is lined with the fur of deer, hares, and the like. The eggs, five 
OF six in number, are bright bluish green. The young are no sooner 
fledged than, like the preceding, they quit the nest. Their plumage is 
then very different from that of their parents : the breast is spotted with 
grey and yellow, the back with brown and black ; lastly, the nostrils and 
angles of the beak are rose-coloured. They are easily reared on white 
bread and poppy-seeds moistened with milk. As soon as they are tamed 
these birds have a great inclination to build in the room. The male and 
female collect all the little straws, threads, and similar materials which 
they can find, to build a nest among the boughs with which they are sup- 
plied for the purpose. The female lays even when solitary ; they may be 
paired with red-breasts, and these unions succeed very well. 

DISEASES. If it were generally true, that birds in a wild state are never 
ill, this species must be excepted ; for, however strange it may appear, the 
young are subject to the small pox ; they are attacked by it while in the 
nest, or even after they can fly. I have a young bird of this kind, which, 
at a time when this disease prevailed in my neighbourhood, took it ; he 
recovered, however, tolerably well, but he entirely lost the tail-feathers, 
which were never afterwards renewed. Old ones are sometimes caught or 
killed whose feet and eyes are ulcerated, or have tumours on them ; per- 
haps they may be only chilblains. Weavers' stoves appear to be particu- 
larly injurious to these birds ; in two or three months their eyes swell, and 
the feathers fall off all round them ; the beak is attacked with scurvy, which 
spreads to the feet, then all over the body ; but they nevertheless continue 
to live from eight to ten years in these rooms. 

MODE OF TAKING. This is very easy at their return in the spring. As 
soon as they appear in the hedges, where they soon discover themselves by 
the cry " issri," a little place near, where the earth is bare, must be found ; 
after having placed limed twigs, and thrown among them earth or meal 
worms for a bait, the dunnock is gently driven towards them without a-larm- 
ing him ; as soon as he perceives the worms he darts upon them and falls 
into the snare. In the autumn they may be caught in the area and with a 
noose ; in winter in the white-throat's trap ; but they resort in the greatest 
numbers to the water trap, not so much for the sake of bathing as to seek 
for dead insects or decayed roots. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. However agreeable this bird may be in the 
room, from its good humour, agility, gaiety, and song, it does not deserve 

It is however, by no means easily tamed, but remains fearful and distant 



the name of winter nightingale, which it bears in some places ; its song is 
too simple and short ; it is a little couplet, composed of a strain of the lark 
and one of the wren. The sounds tchondi, hondi, hondi are repeated 
frequently and for a long time, always descending a sixth, and gradually 
diminishing in power. This song is accompanied with an uninterrupted 
movement of the wings and tail, and lasts through the year, except at the 
moulting season. Some young ones, reared in confinement, will, if placed 
beside a fine singing bird, learn enough of its song to embellish their own. 
But, whatever may be asserted on the subject, they never succeed in imi- 
tating the nightingale. When the dunnock disputes with its fellow cap- 
tives for a place or for food its anger evaporates in a song, like the crested 
lark and the wagtail. 


Motacilla rubecula, LINN^US ; Le Rouge-gorge, BUFFON ; Das Rothkelchen, 

THE red-breast is almost universally known in Europe. 
It is five inches and three quarters long, two and a quarter of 
which belong to the tail. The beak is five lines in length, 
and horn brown, with the lower base and the inside yellow ; 
the iris is deep brown ; the shanks, eleven lines in height, are 
of the same colour ; the forehead, cheeks, and under part of 
the body, from the beak to the bottom of the breast, are orange 
red ; the upper part of the body and the wing-coverts dingy 
olive ; the first wing-coverts have at their tip a little triangular 

The female, which is rather smaller, is not so orange- 
coloured on the forehead, and this colour is not so bright upon 
the breast ; the shanks are a purplish brown ; yellow spots 
are almost alwaj^s absent from the wing-co verts; the old females 
alone having very small yellow marks. 

The males of the first year, which are caught in the spring, 
very much resemble the females : they have but very small 


yellow spots, and sometimes none ; the breast is saffron yellow; 
but the feet are the distinguishing mark, being always very 
dark brown. 

This species has varieties, as the white red-breast and the 
variegated red-breast. In confinement, by sometimes removing 
successively the quill-feathers and tail-feathers out of the moult- 
ing season, they will at last be replaced by white ones. These 
birds are very pretty ; I have had several in this way, but I 
have observed that these last feathers are so weak and delicate 
that they are easily injured and broken. This repeated 
operation must give pain to the little creatures, on which 
account it should be avoided. 

HABITATION. When wild, these birds are found in abundance during 
the period of migration, on hedges and bushes, but in summer they must 
be sought in the woods. " This retreat," it has been said, " is necessary 
to their happiness : the male is engrossed with the society of his mate, all 
other company is troublesome ; he pursues eagerly the birds of his species, 
and drives them from the district he has chosen for himself ; the same 
bush never contains two pairs of these birds." The red-breasts return to 
us (in Germany) about the middle of March * ; they stop for about a 
fortnight in the hedges, and then proceed into the woods. In October 
they return towards the bushes, which they busily search as they travel, 
and proceed gradually to their destination. Some delay their departure 
till November, some will even remain here and there throughout the 
winter, but generally to their cost, as their life is usually sacrificed by 
these delays. Necessity then forces them to draw near to houses, dung- 
hills, and stables, where they are generally caught by men or cats, or die 
of hunger and cold if the frost is long and severe, and the snow deep. 
Care must be taken in hard weather not to transport them suddenly into 
a warm room, the rapid change from cold to heat invariably kills them. 
They should at first be put in a cold room, and be gradually accustomed 
to warm air ; with these precautions they will do as well as those which 
are caught in the autumn or spring. 

In confinement the inhabitants of my neighbourhood like to see red- 
breasts hopping about the room, and they make a roost for them of oak 
or elm branches. They find that this bird destroys flies and even bugs. 
Such a situation appears to agree with him very well, as he lives in this 
way from ten to twelve years. He is so jealous and unsociable that he 
must not have a companion; he must be quite alone; a second would 
cause battles which would end only with the death of one of the 
combatants ; if, however, they are equal in strength, aud in a large room, 
they will divide it, and each taking possession of his half, they remain in 
peace, unless one should pass his limits, in which case war begins, and is 
maintained to the last extremity. 

* In Britain they remain all the year. TRANSLATOR. 


In order the better to enjoy their pretty song, they are provided with a 
cage generally resembling that of the nightingale. 

FOOD. When wild the red-breast feeds on all sorts of insects, which 
are pursued with great skill and agility; sometimes this bird is seen 
fluttering like a butterfly round a leaf on which is a fly, or if he sees an 
earth-worm he hops forward flapping his wings, and seizes it. In autumn 
he eats different sorts of berries. 

In confinement, by giving him at first some earth or meal worms, and 
in the autumn elderberries, he soon gets accustomed to eat anything : he 
picks up crumbs of bread, the little fibres of meat, and the like, but cheese 
appears his favourite food. When hopping about the bird-room he likes 
the universal paste very much *. He chiefly requires a regular supply of 
fresh water, both for drinking and bathing ; and he makes himself so wet 
as to conceal the colours of his plumage. 

BREEDING. The red-breast lays twice a year. The nest, placed near 
the ground, either among moss, in the crevices of stones, among the roots 
of a tree, or in the hole of an old felled trunk, is carelessly formed of 
moss, lined with fine hay, hair, and feathers. She lays from four to six 
eggs, of a yellowish white, with lines and spots joined and mixed together 
of a reddish colour ; the colours become deeper as the spots approach the 
large end, where they form a crown of a light brown colour. The young 
birds are at first covered with yellow down, like chickens, they then 
become grey, and their feathers are edged with dusky yellow ; they do not 
acquire the orange red till they have moulted. They are easily reared on 
white bread soaked in boiled milk. When their cage is placed beside a 
nightingale they acquire some parts of his song, which, introduced into 
their own, make a very pretty mixture. 

DISEASES. Their most common disorder is diarrhoea, for which some 
spiders are administered. Decline is often cured with plenty of ants' eggs 
and meal-worms ; but indigestion often proves fatal, especially when it 
arises from having eaten too many earth-worms. It may, however, be 
cured by making the bird swallow spiders and meal-worms. 

MODE OF TAKING. In spring, when the red-breasts frequent the hedges 
and bushes, sticks are passed transversely through them, on which limed 
twigs ,are fastened, then two persons gently beat the hedge or bush to 
drive the birds towards the twigs, where they are soon caught, for red. 
breasts have the habit of perching on all the little low projecting branches, 
in order that they may discover earth-worms. This sort of red-breast 
chase is very common in Thuringia, where many persons keep them. 
Limed twigs may also be put in a bare place with earth or meal-worms, 
just as for the dunnock. The small nightingale net and the white-throat 
trap catch many. They are also caught at the water trap ; but the 
greatest number are caught in autumn with the noose, baited with elder- 
berries, which are at that season their favourite food. If they are caught 

* I have seen some in cages which were entirely fed on white bread which was 
soaked in hot milk left to get cold, and they were very healthy. If, however, 
we would feed them well, they require nearly the same diet as the nightingale. 


for the room (and it is a pity to hunt so pretty a hird for the table), 
it is necessary, in order to preserve their feet, to cover the springes with 
felt or cork. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. His pretty plumage, tricks, and great socia- 
bility would be enough to make him charming. He is soon tamed, so as 
to come upon the table and eat from a plate or the hand ; his cheerfulness 
and agility must also give pleasure, always in motion, and bowing after 
every hop and calling " sisri ; " but he is particularly valued on account 
of his song. This song is generally more perfect and altogether superior 
when he is caged than when hopping about the room. There are however 
exceptions. The red-breast sings throughout the year, but in spring his 
voice is most brilliant and his melody most enchanting. In a country 
residence it is very easy to teach this bird to go and come, whether reared 
from the nest or caught full grown. 


Motacilla Suecica, LINNAEUS ; La Gorge bleue, BUFFON ; Das Blaukehlchen, 

THIS bird may be considered as intermediate between the 
redstart and the common wagtail, having very strong points of 
resemblance with both. Its length is five inches and a half, 
of which the tail occupies two and a quarter. The beak is 
sharp and blackish, yellow at the angles ; the iris is brown ; 
the shanks are fourteen lines high, of a reddish brown, and 
the toes blackish; the head, the back, and the wing-coverts 
are ashy brown, mottled with a darker tint ; a reddish white 
line passes above the eyes ; the cheeks are dark brown, spotted 
with rust red, and edged at the side with deep ash grey ; a 
brilliant sky blue covers the throat and half way down the 
breast ; this is set off by a spot of the most dazzling white, the 
size of a pea, placed precisely over the gullet, which, enlarging 
and diminishing successively, by the movement of this part 
when the bird sings, produces the most beautiful effect. 

Some males have two little white spots on the throat, some 
even have three, while others have none; these latter are 
probably very old, for I have observed that as the bird grows 
older the blue deepens, and the orange band becomes almost 

It is easy to distinguish the female ; when young she has a 
celestial blue tint on the sides of the throat ; this tint deepens 


with age, and forms two longitudinal lines on the sides of the 
neck ; no orange band ; the throat and gullet are yellowish 
blue, edged longitudinally with a black line ; the feet are flesh- 

HABITATION. When wild this species exists all over Europe*. It is a 
bird of passage, and when returning towards the north, in the beginning of 
April, it stops in large flights near streams, in hedges, and damp fields, 
comes even into courts, and on the dunghills of farms, if surprised by snow 
and a severe return of cold. In the summer it frequents those parts among 
the mountains abounding with water ; in August it approaches cabbage 
fields enclosed by hedges or bushes. It is very seldom that one or two 
pairs build in our country. 

In confinement it may be let run about ; it soon grows so tame as to 
come when called, and feed from the hand. Its rapid motions and races 
are amusing ; but it must not be allowed to fly high enough to get on the 
tables and furniture, as it would soon dirty them. It sings better and 
longer when caged. The cage should be, like the nightingale's, large 
enough for the bird not to spoil its beautiful feathers^ the tail-feathers 
easily drop if they are rubbed. 

FOOD. When wild the blue-breast feeds on all sorts of insects ; it also 
eats elderberries. 

In confinement it must at first be fed with ants' eggs, meal-worms, and 
even some earth-worms. If it is kept uncaged these things must be thrown 
upon the universal paste, which it will thus learn to relish ; but though it 
is easily reconciled to it, ants' eggs, earth and meal-worms, must never- 
theless be occasionally supplied, or it will soon die in decline. When 
caged it is fed like nightingales, and on that food it will live seven or eight 
years. It is a great eater, and can devour in a day its own weight of the 
first universal paste, so that it mutes incessantly. It requires a constant 
supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing : it wets itself so much that 
it is completely drenched. I have observed for several successive years 
that it never bathes till the afternoon f. 

DISEASES Diarrhoea and decline are its commonest disorders. The 
treatment has been pointed out in the Introduction. 

MODE OF TAKING. I often hear it said that the blue-breast is a rare 
bird ; that in some parts of Germany it appears only every five, or even 
ten, years, but I can declare that this opinion arises from a want of obser- 
vation. Since I have taught my neighbours to be more attentive to the 
time of their passage, they every year catch as many as they please. If in 
the first fortnight of April, up to the 20th, cold and snow return, plenty 
may be found by merely following the streams, rivers, and ponds, especially 
in the neighbourhood of a wood. A proper place is chosen, near the water 
and a bush, meal and earth worms are thrown there, with limed twigs, and 
soon these poor birds, if ever so little pushed towards it fall blindly into 
the snare ; they also fall into white-throat traps and nightingale nets. In 

* It is rarely seen in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 

t I have made the same observation on the red-start. 


autumn, when they frequent cabbage grounds to hunt for caterpillars, 
plenty may be caught by planting here and there sticks with limed twigs 
fastened to them, baited with meal-worms. At this season they sometimes 
go to the water trap, but this is not usual. If it happens that any are 
caught in nooses or spring traps baited with elderberries, hunger must have 
been the cause, and they must have been entirely destitute of food. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its beauty, sprightliness, sociability, and song, 
unite in rendering the blue-breast delightful. It runs very swiftly, raises 
its tail w r ith a jerk, and extends it like a fan, keeping it and the wings in 
perpetual motion, uttering the cry of ''''fide, fide" and " tac, tac." It is 
unfortunate that it gradually loses the fine blue on the breast in successive 
moultings, when confined to the house, and becomes at length of a whitish 
grey. In a few days it will become tame enough to eat meal-worms from 
the hand, and it will not be long before it comes for them when called by 
the voice or whistle. Its song is very agreeable ; it sounds like two 
voices at once ; one deep, resembling the gentle humming of a violin 
string, the other the soft sound of a flute. 

When at liberty in the room it always seeks the sunshine, and sleeps on 
its belly. Its notes very much resemble those of the common wagtail, 
but much improved by a violin-like hum. 


Motacilla alba, LINNJEUS ; La Lavandiere, BUFFON ; Die weisse Bachstelze, 

THIS species, well known throughout the old world, is seven 
inches in length, of which the tail measures three and a half. 
The beak, five lines long, is black, and very pointed ; the iris 
is dark ; the shanks, an inch in height, are slender, and black ; 
the upper part of the head, as far as the nape, is black, but 
the rest of the upper part of the body, the sides of the breast, 
and lesser wing-coverts, are bluish ash grey; the forehead, 
cheeks, and sides of the neck are white as snow ; the throat, 
as far as the middle of the breast, is black. 

The female is without the white forehead and cheeks, the 


black top to the head being somewhat smaller. Some females 
have been found with very little of the black cap, and even 
without it, the head then being of the same colour as the 

The young ones, which are seen in large flocks with the 
yellow wagtail around herds of cattle, are so different before 
the first moulting, that they have been considered a distinct 
species, under the name of the grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea). 
In fact, the whole of the upper part of the body is grey, more 
or less pale; the throat and belly dusky white; the breast 
is generally crossed by a band, sometimes entire, sometimes 
broken, of a grey or brownish colour, and the quill-feathers 
are whitish on the outer edge. 

It is not surprising to find varieties amongst birds so nume- 
rous. Some are quite white, others variegated, or speckled 
with white. 

HABITATION. When wild it is found equally near houses, in the fields 
and mountains, and in every place where insects and worms are in plenty. 
It is in Germany a bird of passage, which assembles in autumn on the 
tiles, like the swallow, to prepare for its departure in the first fortnight of 
October*. It returns towards the end of February or beginning of March, 
though the weather be not mild ; it may come thus early without danger, 
as it does not fear to approach houses, on the walls of which it finds flies 
that the spring sun has drawn from their retreat ; and in the streams it also 
finds abundance of aquatic insects. 

In the house it may be kept in a cage, or allowed to range ; but in 
either case it is necessary to scatter plenty of sand about, as it is a very 
dirty little bird. 

FOOD. When wild, it feeds on gnats, water-spiders, aquatic insects, flies, 
and insects that fasten on cattle, round which it often roams. It also 
follows the ploughman to feed on the insects turned up by the plough. 

In the house nothing tames it so soon as ants' eggs, meal-worms, flies, 
and other insects. By degrees it acquires a taste for other food. In the 
cage it must be fed in the same manner as the nightingale. 

BREEDING. This species breeds two or three times in the course of the 
season. Its nest, placed in a hole, in a crevice between stones, or even 
under a tile, is carelessly formed of moss, small roots, hay, or something of 
the kind, and lined with hair and wool. It lays five or six eggs, of a 
bluish white, spotted with black. The young ones brought up from the 
nest become so tame, that they will go and return like a pigeon, build in 
the room, and seek for food for their little ones in the fields. 

DISEASES. Though very subject to diarrhoea, this and the two following 
species may be preserved in a room five or six years. 

* It remains all winter in Britain TRANSLATOR. 


MODE OF TAKING. If there is snow on the ground on their return in 
March, it is only necessary to clear a place (below the window will do), 
and scatter meal-worms amongst limed twigs, or place these on stones or 
wood where the birds assemble, or even fasten a meal-worm to a limed 
twig, loosely stuck in the earth, and you may soon catch a wagtail. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its handsome plumage, its sprightliness, its 
quick and elegant motions, please one as much as its pretty song, which, 
without being striking, is varied, and continues the whole year, except 
during moulting. I always keep a wagtail amongst my birds, and when 
the black-cap, the blue-breast, the lark, and the linnet sing, it seems to 
form a counter-tenor. 


Motacilla Boarula, LINKEUS ; La Bergeronette, BUFFON ; Die graue Bachstelze, 

THIS beautiful species, like the preceding, is seven inches 
in length, of which the tail alone measures four. The beak 
is black ; the iris brown ; the legs, nine lines high, dark flesh- 
coloured; the upper part of the body, including the lesser 
whig-coverts, dark ash-grey ; the head slightly tinted with olive, 
and the rump a fine yellow green ; there is a white streak 
above the eyes, and another, beginning at the inferior base of 
the beak, descends the sides .of the neck, whilst a black streak 
extends from the superior base as far as the eyes ; the chin 
and throat are black, but the breast and under part of the 
body are of the finest yellow. 

The throat of the female is not black, but pale orange ; her 
colours are generally less bright. 

Males a year or two old are without the fine black throat ; 
it is clouded with white. 

HABITATION. In their wild state, these wagtails are found throughout 
Europe ; but in the greatest number in mountainous and wooded parts, 
where the brooks flow over beds of pebbles. They are birds of passage, 
and return amongst us the end of February or beginning of March. A 
few have been observed to remain during mild winters, when they take up 
their abode near dunghills or warm springs. 

In the house they should be kept in a nightingale's cage, and treatea 
like one ; they are so delicate, that with the greatest care they can rarely 
be preserved two years. 

FOOD When wild they prefer aquatic insects, and are continually 

chasing them among the plants and stones by the water-side. 


In the house they should be fed on the same food as the nightingale, to 
which they may he gradually accustomed, by throwing amongst it meal- 
worms and ants 1 eggs. 

BREEDING. Their nests, placed by the water-side, in mill-dikes, or 
heaps of stones, are formed with rather more art than those of the preceding 
species. They begin to lay as early as March, five or six white eggs, 
mottled with flesh-colour. The young ones must be reared on ants' eggs 
and the crumb of white bread, soaked in boiled milk. 

MODE OF TAKING. This is very simple ; it is only to plant sticks with 
limed twigs and meal-worms attached to them, on the banks, or in the 
middle of a stream which they frequent ; you will not have to wait long 
before some ar caught. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. They are as pleasing as the common wagtail ; 
but their plumage is more brilliant, and their voice stronger. Their beau- 
tiful clear trilling sound renders their song agreeable, though rather short. 


Motacilla flava, LINNJEUS ; La Bergeronette du printemps, BUFFON ; Die gelbe 
Bachstelze, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS might almost be mistaken for the female of the preceding 
species ; but it is smaller, or rather shorter, as its tail is not so 
long, measuring only two inches and a half. The total length 
of this bird is six inches and a half; the beak is dusky; the 
iris nut brown; the shanks ten lines high, and black; the 
upper part of the body reddish grey, with a decided olive tint, 
which on the rump becomes a canary green ; the head inclines 
more to grey than green, and above the eyes is a reddish 
white streak ; the under part of the body is of a fine yellow, 
which becomes citron from age, and is palest at the throat and 

The back of the female is greyer ; the belly of a less beau- 
tiful yellow; the throat whitish, and, with tjie breast as far 
as the belly, spotted with red or rust colour, in the male. 

HABITATION. When wild, this species, better known than the pre- 
ceding, is found throughout the plains of Europe, running about the 
pastures amongst the sheep and cattle. They assemble in September, and 
depart for warmer countries in large flights, uttering the cry " sipp, 
sipp ! " in a clear tone ; they return in March. 

It must be treated like the grey wagtail, in the house ; but it is not so 


FOOD. When wild it feeds on flies and other insects that tease the 

In the house it must be fed like the preceding. 

BREEDING. Its nest, made of stubble, and lined with wool, is placed 
at the water-side, or in a deserted molehill, sometimes in the grass, or 
corn, like the lark's. It breeds twice in the year, each time laying five 
or six eggs, grey-blue, spotted all over with reddish grey, and very like 
those described above. The under parts of the young birds are much 
paler than in the old ones. They must be reared on ants' eggs and white 
bread soaked in boiled milk. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds are not very easily caught; at least, 
I have always found it very difficult to succeed ; and, therefore, one is 
reduced to the necessity of placing limed twigs on the nest, which is cruel. 
If snow should fall, however, after their return in spring, some of them 
may be taken, by clearing a convenient place, and scattering there meal- 
worms amongst limed twigs, if you succeed in bringing the birds near. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its beauty and agreeable song make this bird 
a desirable acquisition ; but with every possible attention, I have never 
been able to keep one more than two years. 


Motacilla CEnanthe, LINNJEUS; L'CEnanthe, ou Le Culblanc, BCFFON : Dei 
Weisschwanz, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird, found throughout Europe and the northern parts 
of Asia, resembles the wagtail in size and air ; but its tail 
being only an inch and ten lines, its total length is only five 
inches and a half. The beak, seven lines long, is black, as 
well as the iris and feet ; the shanks are an inch high ; the 
forehead white, and a white streak passes above the eyes, 
crossed by a black line springing from the nostrils, which also 
tints the cheeks; all the upper parts of the body and the 
scapulars are of a light ash-gr>y colour, slightly tirfged with a 
reddish hue. 


The back of the female is reddish grey, and the under parts 
of the body darker than in the male ; the lesser wing-coverts 
are edged with rust-red, and the white of the tail is not so 
clear as in the male, but is of a reddish tint. 

The young ones, before moulting, are spotted with red on a 
dark brown ground, on the upper part of the body ; on the 
under speckled with orange and black. After moulting, both 
males and females retain for another year the colour of the 
female on the back, that is to say, reddish grey. 

HABITATION. When wild this species frequents stony and mountainous 
places ; and, during their migration, they may be seen resting in the fields, 
on the tops of isolated stakes, and other similar places ; rarely on trees or 
hushes. They take their departure during the first fortnight in September, 
and return towards the middle of April, when white frosts cease. 

In the house these birds must be kept in nightingales' cages, or shut up 
behind a grating, and not suffered to range until accustomed in their prison 
to their new food ; for, unless taken good care of at first, they will soon 
die. They can rarely be tamed 

FOOD When wild they feed on flies and other insects, which they 
catch as they run along. 

In the house they must be given plenty of meal-worms and ants' eggs 
as soon as they are taken ; for, if not fed profusely, they will die, and 
what is rather astonishing, of diarrhrea, although they have not eaten any 
of the common house-food. Afterwards they may be fed on nightingales* 
food, and occasionally on white bread soaked in boiled milk; yet, with, 
every attention, they can rarely be preserved more than two years. 

BREEDING. Their nests, formed of stalks of grass and feathers, are 
generally placed in the crevices of some stone-quarry, sometimes in holes 
on the banks of streams or rivers, or in an empty mole-hill, or even on a 
heap of stones. They lay from five to six eggs, of a greenish white. To 
rear the young ones, they must be taken when half-fledged, and fed on 
ants' eggs and white bread soaked in boiled milk. 

MODE OF TAKING. Limed twigs must be placed on the stones or stakes 
where these birds rest, or even on sticks fixed in the ground for the purpose, 
and they must be driven gently towards the snares. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. No one would take the trouble to tanue a 
full-grown wheatear, unless passionately fond of keeping birds. I have 
one, that, by the use of plenty of fresh ants' eggs, has been accustomed to 
range the room. Its plumage is pleasing, its actions graceful ; it is con- 
tinually waving and spreading its fine tail. Its song is passable, but ia 
interrupted every now and then by a kind of scream. 


The present interesting species generally arrives in this 
country about the middle of March, and leaves it again the 


latter end of September or the beginning of October, though 1 
one year saw a pair in Hyde Park as late as the 17th of 

In a wild state they are generally to be found on downs and 
commons, and in Sussex some hundred dozens are caught 
annually by the shepherds, who sell them for the sake of their 
flesh, which is very delicious, particularly in autumn, when 
they become very fat. 

This is a very interesting bird in confinement, and is almost 
continually singing ; it will also sing by night as well as by 
day, if there is a light in the room where it is kept ; it has a 
very pleasant, variable, and agreeable song, different from all 
other birds, which, in confinement, it continues all the whiter. 
When a pair of them are kept together in a large cage or 
aviary, it is very amusing to see them at play with each other, 
flying up and down, and spreading open their long wings in a 
curious manner, dancing and singing at the same time. I have 
very little doubt but a young bird, brought up from the nest, 
might be taught to talk, as they are very imitative. 

When wild the present species feeds entirely on insects, so 
that the more it has given it when in confinement, the better. 
There are very few sorts of insects that it will refuse, except 
the common earth-worm ; small beetles, cockroaches, crickets, 
grasshoppers, most sorts of caterpillars, butterflies, moths, 
earwigs, woodlice, the common maggots, and almost all other 
soils of insects it is very fond of, and the more that is given 
it, the finer will be its song. Its common food is bruised 
hemp-seed and bread, intermixed with fresh, raw, lean meat ; 
also a little of the yolk of an egg boiled hard occasionally for a 


Monlacilla Ruoetra, LINN^US ; Le Tarier, ou Le Grand Traquet, BTJFFON ; Dor 
Braunkehliger Steinschmatzer, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is a delicate bird that is met with throughout Europe, 
among scattered bushes and abrupt declivities. It is four 
inches ten lines in length, of which the tail measures an inch 
and a half. The beak is black, as also the legs, which are nine 
lines high ; the upper parts of the body are dusky, in very 



old birds black, but streaked with pale rust-red, as all the 
feathers are edged with this colour ; a white line, beginning at 
the nostrils, passes above the eyes as far as the ears ; the cheeks 
are dusky, spotted with chestnut; the throat and breast are 
yellow, inclining to orange, the former edged with white on 
the sides and chin. 

The colours are paler in the female, the streak above the eyes 
is yellowish ; the upper part of the body dark brown, spotted 
with rust ; the cheeks dark brown ; the throat reddish-white ; 
the breast pale orange, with small round, black and brown 
spots, which gradually disappear from age. 

These birds vary till the third year. The young ones, which 
may be seen perched on cabbages and other plants, even on 
strong wheat stalks, have the whole of the upper part of the 
body covered with red and blackish spots, and each feather 
edged with this colour before the first moulting; the under 
part of the body is like the female. I killed two in their 
second year, that still had dusky spots on the breast, though 
they had become darker on the back; in general, the two 
sexes may be distinguished by the deep brown of the cheeks 
and back. 

HABITATION When wild they generally frequent the skirts of woods. 

They appear amongst us the heginning of May, and depart towards the end 
of September. In August they may he seen scattered over the fields, on 
the stalks of plants, or detached bushes. 

In the house they must be kept in a nightingale's cage. 

BREEDING. The nest, constructed of dried grass mixed with. moss, lined 
with hair and feathers, is commonly placed in a tuft of grass in the middle 
of a meadow or orchard. The females lay five or six eggs, of a fine light 
blue. Young ones reared on ants' eggs succeed much better than those 
taken full grown. 

MODE OF TAKING In spring, when some of these birds are seen in a 
field or meadow, sticks, furnished with limed twigs, should be stuck there, 
and the birds gently driven to that side, to induce them to settle, which 
they will soon do. In summer, the noose, spiing-trap, and limed twigs, 
must be employed in the following manner : If the noose is used, a stake 
must be set up, about three feet high, slit at the top tc put in crossways a 
stick three inches long, and the noose is placed an inch and a half above, to 
be of the height of the bird's breast when it is perched on the stick. 

If limed twigs are used, forked switches three feet long should bo 
employed : the fork, four inches in length, must be covered with bird-lime. 
Spring-traps or gins must be suspended to small stakes or cabbage stalks. 
As soon as a sufficient number of these spring-traps, snares, and limed 
twigs, are prepared, they must be carried to a cabbage garden, when a 


number of these whinchats has been seen ; there fix the stakes in cross 
lines, two or three paces apart ; then go to the end of the garden and drive 
the birds gently towards the snares ; they jump from one cabbage stalk to 
another till they approach the stakes ; then you stop, and in a short time 
the birds are caught one after another. When they are caught, the pri- 
soners must be taken out and the snares arranged again ; then go to the 
other end and again drive the birds forward as before, and thus continue 
till the sport is over. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. However gay this bird may appear when free, 
it becomes sad and melancholy in the house. If permitted to range, it 
only moves to procure food, and then returns to its accustomed place, and 
keeps its head sunk on its breast. Its pleasing song very much resembles 
the goldfinch's ; but what makes it more admired, is, that it is not only 
heard during the day, but also in the evening, and sometimes during 
the night. 


This pretty species is also known by the name of Furze 
Chat, and is very often confounded with the stonechat, which 
is a very different species. It generally visits this country in 
the beginning of April, and leaves us towards the end of Sep- 
tember. All the fore part of the season it visits commons, 
where it may be seen on the furze bushes, flying backwards 
and forwards after the insects that pass. It builds its nest on 
the ground in a thicket, which it covers up with dry grass, so 
that it is impossible to find it without watching the old ones, 
either in carrying materials to build, or food to their young. 
I have generally found them with six or seven young ones, 
which, with care, are easily bred up from the nest, keeping 
them warm, dry, and clean, and feeding them with the same 
sorts of food as recommended for the old ones ; they should not 
be taken till quite fledged, and should at first be placed in a 
little basket with covers, as they will then readily open their 
mouths for food. I consider those reared from the nest much 
the best, or -such as are caught very young, as they may then be 
taught any tune, or will learn the song of any bird they hear, 
their own song not being a very good one. 

This bird may be considered as one of the tenderest of the 
tribe, being very susceptible of cold. It is one of my greatest 
favourites. One that I bred from the nest by hand, learnt the 
song of the white-throat, the redstart, willow- wren, nightingale, 
and also that of a missel-thrush, which it frequently heard sing- 
ing in a garden near by ; of this latter song it was so fond, that 



we were frequently obi iged to put our favourite out of the room, 
not being able to bear its loud notes ; it was certainly the best 
bird I ever kept of any kind, singing nearly the whole year 
through, and varying its song continually ; the only fault was 
its strong voice. At last, our favourite was turned out of its 
cage by a mischievous servant on a cold whiter day, when we 
were from home for about an hour, and we could not entice it 
back ; it most probably died of the cold, or took its flight to a 
warmer region. I scarcely entertain any hopes of ever getting 
such another ; the food of the present species is precisely the 
same as the last. 


This, like the preceding, is generally to be found on hills 
and commons, harbouring chiefly amongst the furze bushes, 
and feeds, as far as I have observed, entirely on insects. It is 
not so tender as the whinchat, some few of them occasionally 
stopping in this country all the winter. It feeds, when wild, 
on small beetles, flies, as also all sorts of butterflies, moths, cater- 
pillars, woodlice, and various other insects. 

In confinement their food must be the same as the whinchat's. 
They soon become very tame, and if bred up from the nest 
will learn the notes of other birds, which are in general better 
than their own. Their own song, though loud, is very short, 
but they have a strong voice to repeat the notes of another 


Sylvia cinerea, BECHSTEIN ; Le Fauvette grise ou Grisette, BUFFON ; Die gemeine 
Grasiniicke, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird is five inches and a half in length, of which the 
tail measures two and three-quarters. The beak, five lines 


long, is dusky above and greyish beneath, with the comers and 
interior of the throat yellow ; the iris is greyish brown ; the 
shanks are brownish flesh-coloured, and ten lines high; the 
head is ash-grey : the cheeks, neck, back, rump, tail-coverts 
and lesser wing-coverts, are also ash-grey, but tinged with 
brown, deeper on the back than elsewhere ; the throat and 
belly are fine white. 

The female, rather smaller and lighter, rust-coloured on the 
wings, has not a fine w r hite throat like the male. 

HABITATION. When wild the white-throat is spread through Europe. 
They leave us the beginning of October, and are then observed to retire 
from bush to bush, and from hedge to hedge. They reappear towards the 
middle of April, fluttering about the bushes in the fields, the brambles, 
thickets, underwood of the low mountains, and the orchards, running 
about very swiftly. 

In the house they must be treated in the same manner as the fauvette ; 
but they are much more delicate. An amateur had better rear young 
birds, and treat them like nightingales. It is the pnly way to keep them 
many years. 

FOOD. When wild these birds are constantly seeking among the bushes 
for all kinds of insects, grubs, and especially small caterpillars. When, 
from the air becoming cooler, the supply of this sort of food lessens, they 
immediately substitute for it currants, cherries, and elderberries. 

In the house they must be fed, as we said before, on nightingales' food. 
They may, however, be given, occasionally, barley meal and white bread 
soaked in boiled milk ; but this food alone will not agree with them, for 
they will upon it gradually lose thetr feathers, till at length they become 
quite bare. It is a good thing in summer to give them elderberries, though 
they may be red, and in winter dried ones, after soaking them in water. 

BREEDING. The nest is formed of small grass stems and moss, and 
lined with horse-hair. It is placed in a thick bush, near the ground, or 
among roots at the water side, sometimes even in tufts of grass. The eggs, 
from four to six in number, are greenish white, spotted with olive green, 
and speckled at the large end with dark ash-grey. The young leave the 
nest so soon that it is difficult to take them from it. Their first plumage 
resembles full-grown ones, and the females may be known by the fainter 
tint of fawn brown with which the wing-feathers are edged. I have reared 
them easily on ants' eggs. They soon learn to peck alone, and are 
tolerably satisfied with bread soaked in boiled milk ; but to keep them 
long in health they must be fed in the same manner as the nightingale. 
They are pretty, engaging birds, thus reared, becoming so tame that 'they 
\vill perch and sing on the finger. 

DISEASES. These are the same as those of the black-cap, which may be 
referred to. 

MODE OF TAKING. The easiest way is to place limed twigs on the 
nest, but this is repugnant to persons not cruel. Towards the end of 


summer, spring-traps may be set, with elderberries and gooseberries hung 
near them. It is difficult to take these birds at the water-trap. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. This bird, gay, lively, and constantly in 
motion, is a pleasing object in the country. Its song, prolonged far into 
the night, consists of several strains, which rapidly succeed each other, but 
must be near for all its beauties to be distinguished, since the soft low 
toues are only occasionally interrupted by louder notes, which are shrill 
and follow quickly one after the other. The bird rises in the air as it 
sings, as if to be better heard, circles round as it ceases, and sinks again 
into its bush. Its call is a loud tze. When the white-throat is alone in 
a room, its song appears very melodious. 


This is one of the most delightful and pleasing birds that can 
be imagined. If kept in a large cage with other birds it is 
so full of antics, in flying and frisking about, and erecting its 
crest, generally singing all the time, certainly nothing can be 
more amusing. It is also quite as hardy as the black-cap, 
and if a good one be procured, it is little inferior in song : 
but in this they vary considerably, the wild ones as well as 
those in a cage. I have now one in my possession that I have 
had about eleven years, in as good health, and singing as well as 
ever ; and certainly no song need be louder, sweeter, or more 
varied. It is of the same temper as a nightingale, never suffer- 
ing itself to be outdone. It will^ indeed sing for hours together 
against a nightingale, now in the beginning of January, and it 
will not suffer itself to be outdone; when the nightingale 
raises its voice, it also does the same, and tries its utmost to get 
above it ; sometimes in the midst of its song it will run up to the 
nightingale, and stretch out its neck as if in defiance, and whistle 
as loud as it can, staring it in the face ; if the nightingale attempts 
to peck it, away it is in an instant flying round the aviary, and 
singing all the time. 

In a wild state, the present species is generally to be found 
in hedges and gardens, and is the most common of our British 
warblers, visiting us the beginning or middle of April, and 
leaving us towards the end of September ; sometimes a solitary 
one may be seen hi October, but not frequently. It is particu- 
larly fond of flies, or a rose-branch covered with aphides will 
please it very much. 



Sylvia curruca, BECHSTEIN ; Motacilla dumetorum, LINN.SJUS ; La Fauvette 
babillarde, BUFFON ; Das Mullerchen, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS bird somewhat resembles the white-throat, but is 
smaller, and has less rust colour on the wings. It is five inches 
long, the tail measuring more than two. The beak is five 
lines in length, very pointed, black above, and bluish below ; 
the iris has two rings, the outer one pale yellow, the inner a 
brilliant golden yellow ; the shanks, seven lines high, are raven 
black ; the head and rump are dark ash grey ; the rest of the 
upper part of the body is grey, with a reddish tint ; the cheeks 
and the part behind the ears are darker than the head ; the 
throat and under part of the body are white, but the sides of 
the breast are tinged with reddish grey, and those of the belly 
with reddish brown. 

T'he birds must be before you to be able to distinguish the 
two sexes ; you can then only perceive that the head of the 
female is of a lighter colour, and the feet rather blue than 

HABITATION. When wild this species is found throughout Europe, ex- 
cept the north. It is common in the hedges in Germany, disappearing 
in September, and returning the middle of April. Its taste for currants 
often draws it to the garden hedge. It is not very often seen in young 
coppice wood, scarcely ever on trees *, continually on low bushes. 

In the house it must he lodged like the fauvette, and taken the same 
care of ; it is so delicate, that when taken rather old it can rarely be pre- 

FOOD. When wild it is the same as the preceding species. 

In the house these birds cannot be kept long, unless fed on nightingales' 
food, mingled with ants' eggs and meal-worms. 

BREEDING. The nest is generally found on a thick gooseberry bush, or 
whitethorn, and on young fir trees in fir woods. It is formed of coarse 
dried grass, lined with small roots mixed with hogs' bristles. There are 
five or six eggs, white, spotted at the large end with grey and yellow brown 
in a circle. The female's attachment to her brood may be known from 
her dropping from her nest almost fainting as soon as any one approaches, 
uttering anxious cries, fluttering on the ground, and slowly retiring from 
the nest. Scarcely are the young ones fledged, when, if looked at, they 
will dart like an arrow from the nest, and run and hide themselves among 
the bushes. If you wish to rear them, they must be taken as I have 

* This is a mistake, as it likes to frequent high elms TRANSLATOR. 


directed for the fauvette, remembering that the male and female cannot 
then he distinguished. 

DISEASES. These are the same as in the fauvettes. 

MODE OF TAKING.- If snow should fall after their return, a place near 
a hedge should be cleared, and limed twigs fastened to the lower branches ; 
after having thrown meal-worms there, the birds should be gently driven 
towards it, and for the sake of the worms they will creep under the limed 
twigs, and remain caught. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Though the plumage is not very striking, yet 
this bird is very pretty. Some clacking tones, rather like the noise of a 
mill, have given it in Germany the name of the little Miller ; as these 
notes are heard more distinctly than the others, they are erroneously thought 
to be its whole song ; but the rest, certainly very weak, is so soft, so varied, 
so melodious, that it surpasses other warblers. Whilst singing in this 
under tone it is continually hopping about the bushes, but when going to 
utter clap, clap, it stops and employs the whole strength of the larynx to 
pronounce this syllable. To enjoy the beauty of its song it should be alone 
in a room, and then no other singing bird is more agreeable, as it rarely 
utters its call. 


This is a handsome, little, lively species, more elegant and 
smaller than the white-throat, and of a purer colour ; its throat 
being as white as snow. It generally visits us the beginning or 
middle of April, and leaves us again the end of August or 
beginning of September. Its song is not so agreeable as most 
of the other species of warblers ; but it is soft and pretty, and 
very different from any other. It is also more valuable by 
being much more rare ; some seasons very few visit us, in 
others they are sufficiently plentiful. Its habits are somewhat 
similar to those of the white-throat, but it is much more quar- 
relsome, sometimes so much so, that it must be taken from the 
other birds or it will worry them to death, even if they arc 
double its size. 

In confinement it will soon become tame and familiar, and 
will readily take to feed on bread and milk, and also on bruised 
hemp-seed and bread. One that I bred up from the nest 
became so attached to its cage, that it could not be prevailed 
upon to quit it for any length of time. When the door of it 
was set open, it would generally come out quickly, and first 
perch on the door, then mount to the top of the cage, thence 
it would fly to any other cages that were in the room, and 
catch any flies that came within its reach ; sometimes it would 



descend to the floor, or perch on a table or chair, and would 
fly up and take a fly out of the hand, or drink milk out of a 
spoon if invited : of this it was very fond. As soon as it was 
the least frightened, it would fly immediately to its cage, first 
on the top, thence to the door, and would enter in exactly as 
it came out. I have often hung it out at the window perched 
on the top of its cage, with the door open, and it would never 
attempt to fly away. Sometimes if a fly should happen to 
pass near it. it would fly off and catch it, and return with it to 
the top of the cage ; after remaining there a considerable time, 
it would either return into it, or fly in at the window, and 
perch on the cages of the other birds. It is rather more tender 
than the white-throat. 


The warble of the babillard (Curruca garrula, Brisson) is 
pretty and lively, but its song is rendered monotonous in the 
spring and summer by the constant repetition of its loud note 
of defiance, analogous to the clear lively note with which the 
black -cap generally concludes : this may be expressed by the 
monosyllable see, repeated nine or ten times in quick succes- 
sion, and at times very loudly : it is a note, which, though 
agreeable enough when only heard occasionally, becomes quite 
tiresome when continually reiterated. This species, however, 
can warble very sweetly if it please, and, hi confinement, 
during the first months of the year, its song is heard to great 
advantage in a room ; it then rarely repeats its loud see see 
see, and when, at that time, the above-mentioned note is uttered, 
it forms, indeed, an agreeable variety. The song of the babil- 
lard is formed of a number of soft chirping notes, many of which 
are extremely sweet and musical, and though at times tolerably 
loud, yet they are generally delivered in a very low tone, 
scarcely audible at a little distance. The male is almost per- 
petually singing, erecting his crest and the feathers of his throat 
in the manner of a white-throat, and, like that species and the 
furze warbler, he is in constant motion the whole time, throwing 
himself into a variety of odd gesticulations. The song of this 
bird is very superior to that of many white-throats, but not to 
all ; he has none of those harsh sounding notes which so often 
disfigure the white-throat's song. He seems also to be always 


in such high spirits as not to know how to contain himself, 
taking frequently a long circuitous flight from tree to tree, and 
back again, a dozen times, seemingly for no other purpose than 
mere exercise ; but he never mounts singing into the air, like 
the white-throat. There are yet many persons, I believe, who 
consider this species to be " a mere variety " of the white-throat. 
These two species differ from each other in size, in make, in 
colour, in their manners, their habits, their song, in the struc- 
ture of their nest, and in the marking of their eggs ; and surely, 
" if all these circumstances (as Wilson observes, after making 
similar remarks on two American birds, one of which had been 
considered a ' bastard ' production of the other) be not sufficient 
to designate this (the babillard) as a distinct species, by what 
criterion, I would ask, are we to discriminate between a variety 
and an original species, or, to assure ourselves, that the great 
horned owl is not, in fact, a bastard goose, or the carrion crow 
a mere variety of the humming bird ?" 


Motacilla Tithys, LINNAEUS : Le Rouge-queue, BUFFON ; Der Wistling, BECHSTBIN. 

LENGTH five inches and one quarter, of which the tail alone 
measures two and one quarter. The beak is five lines long, 
very pointed and black, the inside and corners yellow ; the iris 
is dusky ; the shanks are nine lines high, and black ; the upper 
part of the body is dark bluish, or blackish gray ; the rump is 
red ; the cheeks, throat, and breast, are black ; the belly and 
sides are of the same dark colour as the back, but tinged with 
white ; the vent is reddish yellow. 

The upper part of the body in the female is dusky ash grey ; 
the under part ash grey, with a reddish tinge. 

The colours of this bird vary during the first eight years ; 
the oldest ones, with the exception of the tail and wings, are 
in general black, but deeper on the under part than the upper ; 
the very oldest have a greyish breast. 

Those a year or two old very much resemble the females, 


having the upper part of the body ash grey, but the under 
rather more of a reddish colour ; the quill-feathers have a more 
decided border. After two years the depth of the colour 
gradually increases. Several birdcatchers, and from them 
some authors, have considered these birds of different ages as 
different species. 

HABITATION. In its wild state the black redstart is fonnd in the tempe- 
rate parts of Europe and in Asia in the same latitudes*. They seem to 
prefer mountainous districts to wide plains, and they are seen in great 
numbers on bare chalk-hills ; if found in woods, it is only in those that are 
on rocks. They frequent towns and villages, perching on the highest 
buildings, towers, steeples, churches, and castles -f*. In spring and autumn 
it hops about the hedges. It arrives early in the spring, its song is heard 
in the beginning of March, and it quits us in small flights towards the 
middle of October. It possesses one quality, not common among singing 
birds, that of singing all the year, or, at least, whilst in our country, how- 
ever cold and stormy the weather may be. 

In the house it should be kept in a nightingale's cage, or at least not 
permitted to range the room. 

FOOD -- When wild it feeds on flies, drawn by the warmth of spring from 
their retreat, and settled on walls ; afterwards on cabbage caterpillars and 
other insects, and in autumn on berries. 

In the house they may be kept in health a long time, if the above 
insects are procured for them, or if fed on nightingales' food, adding occa- 
sionally ants' eggs and meal-worms. 

Old birds taken in autumn may sometimes be tamed and accustomed 
to eat the common food in the-room, by putting amongst elderberries, in 
autumn, ants' eggs, and meal-worms at other seasons. They have been 
known to live five or six years in a cage. 

BREEDING. This bird makes its nest in the holes of rocks and walls, 
particularly in high buildings, on the timbers of barns, and places it at a 
distance from any other. It is constructed of hay, mixed with the hair of 
animals. Each laying (for there are two in the year) consists of five or six 
white eggs. The young have a reddish grey plumage, and should be taken 
from the nest when the tail is half grown, if it is wished to rear them. 
They should be fed on ants' eggs, and white bread soaked in boiled milk. 

DISEASES. These are the same as those of the fauvette. 

MODE OF TAKING. Limed twigs, with meal-worms fastened to them, 
should be laid wherever these birds are most frequently found. Towards 
winter they may be caught in spring-traps with elderberries hung opposite. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its call, "^tea," being very similar to the 

* It is rare in England. TRANSLATOR. 

t It is a remarkable fact, that this bird, now so common in Thuringia, was a 
rarity there twenty years ago. This change cannot be attributed to climate or 
food. What is the occasion of it then ? AUTHOR. 


nightingale's, has given rise most probably to its name of Wall Nightingale, 
which it has in common with the following species. Its song certainly 
cannot enter into comparison with that of the nightingale, for it is sad, 
and consists of only three strains, the middle one scarcely more than 
croaking ; the other two may boast of a few high clear tones ; it may be 
heard from early in the morning till night. It is always gay and active, 
its motions light and nimble ; it shakes its tail quickly from side to side at 
every hop or spring, and utters continually the cry "fitza* /" 


Motacilla Phcenicurus, LINNAEUS ; Le Rossignol de muraille, BUFFON ; Das 
Gemeiner Oder Garten-Rothschwanzchen, BECHSTEIN. 

ITS length is five inches and a quarter, of which the tail 
measures two and a quarter. The beak is five lines, the tip 
is blunt, black on the outside, yellow within and at the 
corners ; the iris is black ; the shanks are of the same colour, 
and ten lines high ; the base of the upper mandible and cheeks 
are black, as also the throat, but this is speckled with white ; 
the white on the front of the head unites with a streak of the 
same colour, which extends above the eyes ; the back of the 
head and neck, the back and lesser wing-coverts, are dark ash 
grey tinged with a reddish colour ; the rump, breast, and sides, 
are red inclining to orange. 

The female is very different, very much resembling that of 
the black redstart, yet its colours are rather lighter. The 
upper part of its body is reddish ash grey ; the whitish throat 

* In sitting on house eaves, and singing in the autumn, it performs a similar 
part in Germany to the redbreast in Britain. No redbreast on the Continent 
becomes familiar about the house like ours; they keep always in the woods 


is not clouded with black till the fifth or sixth year; the 
breast is dusky rust-red waved with white ; the belly is dusky 
white ; the rump is reddish yellow*. 

It is not till after the first moulting that the distinction 
between the plumage of the males and females is obvious; 
even then the breast of the male retains the black tinged with 
white, but loses this tint hi the course of the folio whig summer; 
the males also have for some time a white streak on the fore- 
head, that passes above the eyes, and the belly is more white 
than rust-red. 

HABITATION In a -wild state these birds are found in Europe and Asia, 

and are very common in Germany and England. They leave us the 
beginning of October, and return the end of March or beginning of April. 
At this time and in autumn they haunt hedges aiid bushes ; but in summer 
they principally frequent gardens, the banks of streams planted with 
'villows, and even forests. Those that frequent gardens also enter towns, 
and will perch on the roofs of the houses, enlivening the inmates with their 
song from morning till night. 

In the house, if given a cage, it should be of such light wire work as not 
to conceal the beauty of the plumage. 

FOOD. When wild they feed on all kinds of insects, earth-worms, 
currants, and elderberries. 

In the house, if taken in autumn, they may sometimes be induced to 
feed on elderberries, rarely on the poultry paste. To entice them to this 
meal-worms must be mixed with it at first, and some thrown in when it is 
eaten ; ants' eggs must be added in spring. These birds are delicate, and 
always require to be supplied with insects ; but never give them earth- 
worms, as they do not digest them easily. If kept in cages they should bo 
given nightingales' food ; yet fed in this way it is rare to preserve them 
above three or four years ; they generally die of consumption or atrophy. 

BREEDING. The red- start generally places its nest in a hole of a tree 
or wall ; it is negligently formed of moss, stalks of grass, feathers, and 
hair. The female has two broods in the year, and each time she lays 
from five to seven eggs, of an apple green. Scarcely have the tail-feathers 
begun to grow ere the young ones hop from the nest and perch on some 
neighbouring branch, where they receive food from the parent birds till 
they are able to seek it for themselves. Their plumage before moulting 
is ash grey spotted with white. The young females resemble the nightin- 
gale so much in autumn that they are often mistaken for it. Bird-fanciers 
should rear these birds on ants' eggs, with white bread soaked in boiled 
milk occasionally, and thus accustom them to the common universal paste. 
They learn to repeat parts of the songs of their companions. 

* At a very advanced age the female acquires all the colours ot the male yet 
less bright, as I have observed of several birds. Such femal s do not breed after- 
wards, and in summer fly from place to place. This peculiarity is also observed in 
hen-pheasants AUTHOR. 


DISEASES. Diarrhoea and atrophy carry off the greatest number. 

MODE OF TAKING. Sticks covered with bird-lime should be placed 
across the hedges frequented by these birds ; they must then be driven 
gently towards them. They are also attracted under nets, and amongst 
limed twigs baited with meal-worms. In autumn they may be taken in 
nooses, by suspending elderberries near them, either in orchards or thickets. 
Those intended for the house should be taken in bird-traps or springes, 
taking care that the wooden part be covered with felt or cork, to prevent 
the legs being broken. The young ones of the first year are the easiest to 
preserve. They also go to the water-trap without difficulty. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its plumage, and still more its song and 
gprightliness, render this a delightful bird. It is always in motion, bowing, 
and moving its tail from side to side at every step ; all its actions are 
lively and graceful. It can improve its song, composed of some very 
pretty strains, by adding to it parts of the songs of birds that are found 
near it. For instance, those that build under my roof imitate tolerably 
the chaffinch that hangs in a cage at my window ; and a neighbour of mine 
has one in his garden that repeats some strains of a blackcap that has its 
nest near. This facility in appropriating the song of other birds is rare 
in birds that live in a state of liberty, and seems peculiar to this species. 
They become so tame that they will take meal-worms from the hand. 


This is one of the handsomest of our British birds, visiting 
us the latter end of March or beginning of April ; the earliest 
arrival ever noticed was the 25th of March, and they generally 
leave us the beginning of September. When they first arrive 
they mostly frequent old buildings or out-houses, for the sake 
of flies and small insects that often abound there. They build 
their nest in a hole or crevice of a wall, or in a hollow tree. 
They frequently ascend to the top of the highest tree within 
their haunt, and there sit sometimes for a considerable time, 
pouring out their quick and sort of fretful song. When kept 
in confinement I consider it the most sensible, and, if brought 
up from the nest, the most attached of all small birds ; but it 
may be considered the most tender of the whole tribe. It is 
a real mocker, and if bred up from a young one, will learn the 
note or call of almost any other bird ; it will also learn a tune 
that is whistled or sung to it, and will sing by night as well as 
day if a light be kept in the room where it is. 

I was in possession of a handsome male bird of this species, 
which I kept more than six years. It became very tame, though 
an old wild bird when first caught, and it was so attached 



to its cage, that one day, having got its liberty, it flew away 
into the gardens, where it stayed six or seven hours, after which 
it returned to its cage again. In the year 1825 I saw a female 
bird of this species so late as the 21st of November, flying 
about as lively as at midsummer ; it had probably escaped or 
been turned out of a cage. When in confinement it is parti- 
cularly partial to ants' eggs, and also to the common maggots. 


Sylvia polyglotta, RANZANI ; Sylvia Hippolais, BECHSTEIN ; Le Becfin a poitrine 
jaune, TEMMINCK ; Die Gelbbrust, BECHSTEIN ; Die Spotvogel, WICHTERJCH. 

THIS pleasing bird, which is met with wherever there are 
groves and bushes*, is five inches and a half in length, of 
which the tail measures two and a quarter. The beak, seven 
lines long, is straight, blunt, bluish grey above, and yellow 
tinged with flesh-colour beneath, with yellowish corners, and 
the entrance of the throat citron yellow ; the iris is dark 
brown; the shanks, ten lines high, are lead-coloured. The 
head is pointed in front; the back, rump, and lesser wing- 
coverts, are olive ash grey; a yellow line extends from the 
nostrils to the eyes ; the whole of the under part of the body 
is a fine light yellow ; the tail and wings are dark brown ; the 
secondary quill-feathers have so wide a white border that it 
forms a spot on the closed wings. 

HABITATION. In its \vild state it frequents orchards, groves, and 
brambles ; but with us it seems to prefer small woods that are interspersed 
with resinous trees. It arrives the end of April, and quits us as early as 
the end of August, before the moulting season. 

In the house it is kept in a nightingale's cage, in which no change must 
be made, still less must another be given it, for it would not survive these 
disturbances. It is so delicate, that if taken when full grown it is almost 
impossible to tame it. 

FOOD. When wild its food is all kinds of insects, smooth caterpillars, 
flies, gnats, &c. ; and if these are scarce, berries T- 

In the house it prefers these insects and meal-worms. It is only with 
great patience and management that it can be given a taste for the nightin- 
gale's food. In general it will eat nothing but insects. 

* It is not found in Britain TRANSLATOR. 
t This I doubt. TRANSLATOR, 


BREEDING. The nest of the arbour bird is one of those that are so well 
and curiously formed, commonly placed eight feet above the ground, in 
the fork of a tree. It is built of pieces of the white bark of the birch tree, 
dried plants, caterpillars' webs, wool, and the upper layer of down. All 
these white materials give it the appearance of being made of paper. It is 
lined with the finest hay. The female lays five eggs, which are at first 
of a pale rose red, but after having been sat upon some days acquire a 
dark flesh-coloured tint, speckled with dark red. This species has but 
one brood in the year, and if the nest is approached two or three times it 
will desert it, whether the young ones are hatched or not. 

If a person wish to have this pleasing bird in the house, as it is often 
seen in Hesse, he must take the young ones early from the nest, feed them 
on ants' eggs and bullock's heart chopped small, and always keep them in 
a warm place. As soon as the arbour bird has been placed in the situation 
destined for it, it must be left there constantly ; its cage ought not to be 
changed, at least there should be no difference in the one given it after- 
wards, as without this attention it becomes sad, eats no longer, and dies in 
a short time. I may observe here, that it moults in December or January, 
whence we may infer that it passes the winter in a southern climate. 

DISEASES. These are the same as the nightingale's. 

MODE OF TAKING. This can rarely be accomplished but by placing 
limed twigs on the nest, which is a cruel method, and the nest is oflen 
deserted as soon as it has been approached. Neither will these birds go to 
the water-trap : they may be caught occasionally in bird-traps in August, 
by baiting them with currants*. The surest way then is to take them 
young, especially as the old ones cannot be tamed. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the arbour bird is sweet, varied, 
full of power and melody, long sustained ; yet some harsh strains have 
been remarked, and some resembling the notes of the chimney swallow. 
Whilst singing its throat is much dilated. Its call is dak, dak ! hyome, 
hyovie ! Its plumage is pretty. 


" British writers, since the time of Pennant and White, have 
rendered the history of several of our smallest birds a mass of 
confusion, which even now it will be difficult to clear up, 
though I feel confident I possess the means of loosening two at 
least of the knots of the controverted points, as I shall pre- 
sently show. 

" When I was residing, in the summer of 1832, at Bonn, on 
the Rhine, my friend M. Wichterich brought me a pair of 
birds with their young, which at first sight, judging from colour 
and size, I took to be pale canaries, till I looked at their bills; 

* Most certainly a mistake. TBANSLATOR. 


I perceived then that it was a species with which I was un- 
acquainted, and certainly not known as British. I was accord- 
ingly not a little surprised when he told me it was the Sylvia 
Hippolais of Bechstein, and astonished when he said it was one 
of the finest song birds hi Europe, very superior to the black- 
cap and fauvette, and in some respects even to the nightingale. 
I thence concluded that it was the species whose splendid song 
had charmed and puzzled me in an orchard at Schiedam, in 
Holland, and again in the gardens of Prince Maximilian, at 
Neuwied, on the Rhine ; the rich intonation and multitudinous 
variety of the notes fully bearing out my friend's opinion. 
This circumstance alone would go far to prove that the species 
is not British, for it would be Impossible so fine a song bird 
could be concealed, particularly as it haunts gardens, and is 
rarely found in woods. The very contrary of the statement of 
Temminck, whose authority, how high soever it may be in 
other matters, is, with respect to habits and field observations, 
of not the slightest weight : he might have seen the bird, if he 
ever looked beyond his cabinet, in most of the gardens about 
Leyden, where he resides. 

" I kept the old birds with their young, which they fed in 
a cage for some time, but to my great regret they fell a sacri- 
fice to the common enemy of cage birds. About the same time 
I was delighted to find a nest of the same species in a lilac-tree 
in my own garden, about half a dozen yards from my parlour 
windows. Three of the young after leaving this nest were 
secured, and their mother was caught to feed them, which she 
did successfully, and I brought them all. and three others, 
home with me to England. The nest was about seven feet 
high from the garden level, and ten from the base of a low 
wall, over which the branch where it was built leaned. The 
workmanship of the nest is very superior to that of the black- 
cap, coming nearer in character to that of the finches. The 
frame- work is rather thick, made of dried grass stems, sewing 
thread, fine wood shavings, birch bark, and small pieces of linen 
rag. The inside is very neatly lined with roots, hair, and a 
few feathers and small locks of wool. 

" In the full grown male the bill is about half an inch long, 
straight, somewhat blunt, broad and flat at the base. The 
upper mandible has an exceedingly indistinct notch, and is 



greyish blue ; the under mandible yellowish, with a tinge of 
red ; the angles yellowish, and the opening of the mouth lemon 
yellow. The tongue is yellow, abrupt at the point, and fur- 
nished with three bristles. The iris is dusky brown. The 
forehead is low, flat, angular, and pointed. The eye-brows 
and eye-lids are yellow, and a yellow line runs from the nos- 
trils to the eyes. The crown of the head, neck, back, and 
whig-coverts are olive grey, inclining more to green on the 
rump. The shoulder of the wing (campterium, ILLIGER) is 
yellow : the primary quill-feathers are dusky brown, with a 
slight fringe of olive grey ; the rest of the quill-feathers have 
a broader fringe of greyish white, which, when the wing is 
closed, forms a whitish patch. The tail is two inches long, 
the feathers being of equal length, and of very nearly the same 
colours and tinge as the wing-quills. All the under parts of 
the body are of a fine clear lemon colour. The legs are five- 
sixths of an inch high, and of a lead colour ; the claws greyish 
brown. The whole length is five inches and a half ; the ex- 
tent of the wings nine inches. 

The female is sometimes, but not always, rather paler than 
the male. The young have the yellow parts very pale. 

A species very similar to this has been discovered in Italy 
by Prince C. Buonaparte the Sylvia icterina ? of Vieillot, 
which frequents marshy places. 


Sylva loquax, HERBERT ; S, Hlppolais, MONTAGU ; but not the S. Hippolaia of Hm 
Coutinental authors, which is S. polyglotta. 


THIS bird weighs about two or nearly three drachms ; the 
length varies from four inches and a half to five inches. 


This species is nearly the same size as the hay-bird. In its 
plumage it so much resembles that bird, that we shall only 
make mention here of some essential marks of distinction, and 
refer our readers to the hay-bird. 

Its general colour is not so much tinged with yellow, and 
the legs are dusky, which in the other are brown. 

The plumage of the sexes are alike. 

These two birds have been, and are, frequently confounded, 
and with them the wood wren of this work ; but this last is at 
once distinguished by the under tail-coverts being a pure white, 
and the plumage of a more lively green on the upper parts 
than either of the others. The nest, eggs, and notes, will be 
found also different by consulting and comparing the history of 
each. This is the first of all the migrative warblers (Sylviadce) 
in its annual visit, and is, perhaps, the only one that has occa- 
sionally been observed with us during the winter, and that only 
in the milder parts of England. It is generally heard on or 
before the first of April repeating its song, if that may be so 
called which consists only of four notes, which seem to express 
the words chip, chop, cherry, churry, four or five times succes- 
sively. It is a busy, restless bird, always active among the 
trees and bushes in search of insects. From its early cry in 
our neighbourhood, we long suspected it would be found that 
this hardy little bird did not wholly quit us, and in this opinion 
we were confirmed by seeing one in the garden about Christ- 
mas, 1806. In the following January, we observed two of 
these little creatures busied in catching the small insects which 
a bright day had roused in great abundance about some fir 
trees, by springing upon them from the ends of the branches, 
one of which we succeeded in shooting. Another, which we 
killed in 1808, on the same spot, while feeding upon a small 
species of culex, weighed one drachm thirty-three grains ; this 
will easily account for the very early cry of this bird in the 
spring, as it is highly probable that they remain with us the 
whole year, but are wholly silent in the winter. The earliest 
we ever heard was on the 14th of March, 1804, when vegeta- 
tion was unusually early. 

The nest of this species is oval, with a small hole near the 
top, composed externally of dry leaves, and then coarse dry 


grass, and lined with feathers ; and is generally placed on or 
near the ground, frequently on a ditch bank, in a tuft of grass 
or low bush. The eggs are six in number, white, speckled 
with purplish red at the larger end only, with here and there 
a single speck on the sides. 

It seems to be the hardiest and most generally diffused of 
all our summer visitants ; and is found in all parts of the 
kingdom where wood or hedges afford it shelter and food. Its 
note is heard long after the hay-bird is silent. Dr. Latham 
says this is called in Dorsetshire the hay-bird ; but as we are 
inclined to believe the three species before mentioned have 
been confounded, it is more probable that our hay-bird 
should obtain that name, as its nest is composed of that 

Mr. Sweet tells us, " it is readily taken in a trap baited 
with ?.mall caterpillars. They soon get familiar in confine- 
ment ; when first caught, they should, if possible, be put with 
other birds, and they will readily take to feed on bruised 
hemp-seed and bread, and on bread and milk, which must at 
first be stuck full of small insects, or a quantity of aphides 
may be shaken off a branch upon it ; when they have once 
tasted it they will be very fond of it. One that I caught took 
to eat it directly, and became so familiar, that in three or four 
days it would take a fly out of the hand. It also learnt to 
drink milk out of a tea-spoon, of which it was so fond, that it 
would fly after it all round the room, and perch on the hand 
that held it, without showing the least symptoms of fear. 
It would also fly up to the ceiling, and bring down a fly in its 
mouth every time. At last it got so very tame, that it would 
sit on my knee by the fire and sleep ; and when the windows 
were open, it would never attempt, nor seemed to have the 
least inclination, to fly out ; so that I at last ventured to entice 
it out in the garden, to see whether it would return. I with 
difficulty enticed it out at the door with a spoon of milk ; it 
returned twice to the room ; the third time it ventured into L 
little tree ; it then fled and perched on my hand, and drank 
milk out of the spoon ; from thence it flew to the ground on 
some chickweed, in which it washed itself, and got into a 
holly-bush to dry. After getting among the leaves, I could 
see no more of it, but heard it call several times. I suppc .e 


after it got quite dry that it left the country directly, as I 
could never see or hear it afterwards, and it was then the end 
of November, when all the others had left for some time*." 


Sylviarufa, BECHSTEIN ; La Fauvette rousse, BUFFON ; Der Weidenzeisig, 

THIS and the gold-crested wren are the smallest of our 
European birds. 

The full-grown male has the bill a third of an inch in length, 
very narrow, and pointed ; of a blackish brown, except at the 
edges and within, where it is yellow. The iris is dusky brown. 
From the base of the bill on each side there runs a narrow 
yellowish white streak, and there is another straight streak of 
a dusky yellow over the eye. The sides of the head are of a 
very clear brown. The upper part of the head, neck, and 
back, are greyish brown, with a slight tinge of olive. The 
throat is greyish white ; the breast light grey, with a very pale 
tinge of red, or rather rust brown. The belly is greyish white, 
with faint yellowish streaks. 

The females and the young males, before the first moult, 
have the upper parts of a clear olive green, and the under parts 
reddish white. 

I have never met with the nest ; but it is said to be built on 
the ground amongst fallen leaves, domed, with a side entrance, 
and lined with feathers. The eggs are said to be from four to 
seven, white, with reddish black dots, most crowded at the 
larger end. 

The young branchers may be caught in autumn by means 
of the owl, with limed twigs, and fed on ant's eggs and small 
meal-worms. They will also soon take to bread and milk, or 
German paste, and become exceedingly tame, but are very im- 
patient of cold. 

It is most probably a native of Britain, like the preceding ; 
but is not yet distinctly proved to be so. 

* Sweet's British Warblers. 


Sylvia Fitis, BECHSTEIN ; S. Trochilus, LATHAM; Le Bee-fin Pouillot, TEMMINCK ; 
Der Fitis Sanger, MEYER ; Der Weidenblatt, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species weighs about two drachms and three quarters ; 
length five inches and a quarter. The bill is dusky above, 
yellowish beneath ; irides hazel. The whole upper parts of the 
plumage are of a greenish yellow brown : the under parts are 
white, tinged with yellow; on the breast are a few yellow 
streaks ; legs light brown. 

This is a plentiful species in some parts ; frequents wooded 
and enclosed situations, especially where willows abound ; is 
frequently found with the wood wren, but does not extend so 
far to the west in England, as it is rarely met with in Cornwall. 
It comes to us early in April, and soon begins its usual song, 
which is short, with little variety. About the latter end of 
the same month, or beginning of May, it makes a nest of an 
oval shape, with a small opening near the top, composed of 
moss and dried grass, and lined with feathers. This is placed 
in the hollow of a ditch, or in a low bush close to the ground. 


This is another little favourite songster, and a most deserving 
one it is. It visits us the latter end of March, or beginning of 
April, and leaves us again at the end of September, or beginning 
of October. On its first arrival, it enlivens our woods and 
groves with its lively piercing song and gay frolics, flying 
about from tree to tree, and catching the small gnats and flies 
that come in its way. It builds its nest on the ground in a 
thicket amongst dead leaves and moss, with a covering on the 


top, of the same materials as those lying all around, so that it 
is impossible to find it without watching one of the old ones to 
the nest, which in general consists of six or seven young ones. 
These may either be brought up from the nest, or if an old one 
be caught wild it is easily tamed. When first put in the cage 
with a tame bird, the general food, bread and milk, and eggs, 
should be stuck full of small flies, aphides, small caterpillars, 
or other small insects, in picking out which it will taste the 
other food, and soon take to eat it readily, and will soon become 
very tame in confinement. One that I caught in September 
was, in three days afterwards, let out of the aviary into the 
room to catch the flies, that were numerous at that season. 
After amusing itself for some time in catching flies, it began 
singing ; and it did the same several other times w r hen it was 
let out, and in a few days began to sing in its aviary. It soon 
became so familiar, that it would take flies out of the hand ; 
and when out in the room, if a fly was held towards it, would 
fly up, and take it immediately. 

Although the present species is so small a bird, it is very 
courageous, being generally the master of the cage, and as it is 
so fine a songster, and almost continually in song, no little bird 
can be more desirable in a cage with other birds ; its note, when 
in full song, being so loud and shrill, that its voice is plainly 
heard above the nightingale's when both are in full song. 


Sylvia sibilatrix, ELCHSTEIN; Le Bee-fin Siffleur, TEMMINCK ; Der grtine Sanger, 

THIS bird remained long unnoticed as a distinct species, 
from its resemblance to the hay-bird (Sylvia Trochilus\ with 


which it is still frequently confounded. It measures in length 
five inches and a half; bill horn-colour ; upper mandible bent 
at the tip, and rather longer than the under ; irides hazel ; 
nostrils beset with bristles ; top of the head, neck, back, and 
tail-coverts olive green ; throat and cheeks yellow, paler on the 
breast ; belly and vent of a most beautiful silvery white ; through 
the eye passes a yellow line ; legs rather more than an inch 
long, of a horn-colour, claws paler. 


This elegant and beautiful little species ranks itself amongst 
my list of favourites. It visits this country the beginning of 
April, and leaves it in August, or the beginning of September. 
It is generally to be found in summer amongst tall trees in 
woods and plantations, where it is readily detected on its arrival, 
by a shrill shaking sort of note that may be heard at a great 
distance, and cannot be confounded with any other bird. On 
its first arrival it sings the greater part of the day, and continues 
its song, more or less, through the summer, except at the time 
it is engaged in feeding its young. Its nest is built on the 
ground in a tliicket amongst moss and dead leaves, so that it is 
impossible to find it without watching one of the old ones to the 
nest, which is easily done when they have young. They may 
either be tamed when old, or reared from the nest, and are not 
difficult to be caught when young with a little bird-lime at the 
end of a fishing-rod, as may several other species of this inter- 
esting group. 

As the present species feeds entirely upon insects when wild, 
the greater part of which it catches on the wing, it will be use- 
less to give it any sort of fruit or berry ; but bread and milk, 
bruised hemp- seed and bread, with bits of fresh lean meat 
cut very small and mixed up in it, will be its general food. 
It is also very fond of the yolk of an egg boiled hard, and 
crumbled small, or stirred up with the point of a knife that it 
may peck it out of the shell as it likes. Sometimes these 
birds are apt to get off their other food, and will live on egg 
several days ; at such a time if a few flies could be procured for 
them, it would be the most likely to restore their appetite. 


Locustella avicula, RAY ; Sylvia locustella, LATHAM ; L'Alouette locustelle, 
BUFFON ; Der Fleuschrechensanger, MEYER. 

THIS species is less than the white-throat ; length five inches 
and a half; weighf about three drachms and a quarter. The 
bill is dusky above, whitish beneath ; irides light hazel. The 
whole upper parts of the bird are olivaceous brown ; the middle 
of each feather dusky, except on the back of the neck, which 
gives it a pretty spotted appearance ; the tail is much cuneiform, 
and the feathers somewhat pointed, which is a very marked and 
peculiar character in this species ; the outer feather being fall 
an inch shorter than the middle ones, and nearly rounded at 
the tips, the whig remarkably short, reaching very little beyond 
the base of the tail ; legs very pale brown ; claws light-horn 
colour ; hind claw short and crooked. 

In shape, the grasshopper warbler very much resembles the 
sedge-bird ; is rather inferior in size, and at once distinguished 
by its spotted back. 

The present species is known amongst bird-catchers by the 
name of the grasshopper lark, and it was originally placed 
amongst the larks by ornithologists, but has been very properly 
removed from them by later authors, as it wants the most cha- 
racteristic mark of that family, namely, its long claw. It is a 
very rare bird in the neighbourhood of London, and I have 
never been able to procure but one of them, which I lost the 
first winter, by letting it wash too much ; in confinement it 
requires the same sort of management as recommended for the 
two last species, and it will succeed very well. I am not ac- 


quainted with their song, never having lived in any neighbour- 
hood where they visit, but I have been credibly informed that 
they have none but a note like the chirping of the grasshopper ; 
this may probably be the case, but I have often heard the 
same report of some of our finest songsters, which people had 
confused with very common birds, there being very few who 
do not confuse, under the general name of white-throats, the 
common fly-catcher, both white-throats, the greater petty chaps, 
and the blackcaps, when young ; and many even confuse with 
these the willow wren, wood wren, and lesser pettychaps : this 
tribe of birds being only summer visitants, are less known than 
any others. 

These birds are not uncommon in several parts of England ; 
they are said to be plentiful on Malmesbury Common, Wiltshire, 
iii summer, where they breed ; they are also^requently seen in 
Norfolk and Suffolk, and in various other parts, where they 
build their nest among some high grass or sedge, in which it is 
so concealed that it is with difficulty found, except by watching 
the old birds carrying food to their young ones ; or when build- 
ing, they may be seen carrying materials to construct their nest. 

In a wild state these birds feed entirely on insects, such as 
flies, moths, butterflies, spiders, ants; and their eggs, small 
beetles, and numerous other sorts, so that in confinement they 
will frequently require insect food. 


Sylvia arundinacea, LATHAM ; La Fauvette des Roseaux, BUFFON ; Der Teich- 
sanger oder Sumpfsanger, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species has been confounded, not only with others 
with a greenish plumage that are analogous, but hi describing 


it with the reed thrush (Turdus arundinaceus, Linn.), and in 
its manner of life with the black-bonnet, or reed bunting 
(Emberiza Schceniclus, Linn.). It is five inches in length, of 
which the tail measures two. The beak, seven lines long, 
resembles that of the arbour bird, brown above and yellowish 
beneath; the iris is chestnut brown; the shanks are eight 
lines high, and ash grey ; the forehead is very long, greenish 
grey ; the rest of the upper part of the body, including the 
wing-coverts, are of the same colour, tinged with olive ; the 
rump is paler ; a straw-coloured line extends above the eyes ; 
the cheeks are olive brown ; the under part of the body is 
yellowish white ; the knees are olive grey ; the anterior quill- 
feathers are dusky ; the secondary are dark brown ; all are 
edged with olive grey ; the tail-feathers have the same colour 
as the quill-feathers, but with a wider olive grey border ; the 
tail is very much rounded, and nearly wedge-formed. 

There is little difference in the female. Her head is pale 
brown : a white line passes across the eyes ; the upper part is 
reddish grey, tinged with olive ; the under part, except the 
throat, which is white, is pale grey, tinged with yellow ; the 
quill-feathers are darker brown than the tail, with an olive 
grey border. 

HABITATION. When wild they are found throughout Europe, wherever 
rushes and reeds abound. They arrive in Germany towards the middle 
of April, and leave it the beginning of September. As they are very 
delicate, in the house they must be kept in a nightingale's cage. 

FOOD. When wild it feeds on all kinds of aquatic insects, and, when 
these fail, on berries. In the house, independently of nightingale's food, 
it requires in a cage all the insects that can be caught, as flies, water- 
spiders, and gnats. 

BREEDING. The nest, rather long and very ingeniously fastened to the 
stems of the reeds or the branches of bushes by the water side, is constructed 
of pieces of dried grass, of which the largest are on the outside, and the 
finer within ; these are sometimes mixed with wool and hair. The eggs, 
five or six in number, are greenish white, streaked and speckled with olive 
green. The young ones can only be reared on ants' eggs. 

MODE OF TAKING. These birds are sometimes caught by placing 1 lime 
twigs on a place cleared of the turf, and throwing meal-worms there. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The song of the reed warbler very much 
resembles that of the arbour bird, but is not so full ; what renders it so 
agreeable is, that its varied melody is heard during evening and morning 



This is a very variable bird in its colours, some being of a 
very pale colour, and others altogether as dark, and those that 
are pale one season frequently become dark the ensuing one. It 
is a curious little lively bird, known often by the name of reed 
wren. It generally makes its appearance with us the beginning 
of April, and leaves us in September. Its early or late departure 
seems to depend a good deal on the warmth or coolness of the 
seasons. It is a very merry bird, almost continually singing, 
and will sing by night as well as by day, sitting amongst the 
reeds, or in some bush or tree near the water, where it feeds on 
the gnats and other insects that infest moist situations. Jt 
is very fond of flies, spiders, small caterpillars, moths, grass 
hoppers, crickets, and many other insects, and will swallow a 
larger one than could be imagined for so small a bird. In con- 
finement it will feed readily on the general food, and is also very 
fond of the yolk of an egg boiled hard, so that it may be 
crumbled on the top of the other food, or put hi the cage in an 
empty egg-shell. It should also be supplied with a few insects 
occasionally, such as flies, spiders, small caterpillars, moths, or 
butterflies. Being an inhabitant of the sides of ditches and 
rivers, it is very partial to washing, which it must not be 
allowed to do in winter, or it will wash itself until it is so weak 
that it can never recover. 


Sylvia Phragmitis, BECHSTRIN ; S. salicaria, LATHAM ; Le Bee-fin Pbragmite, 

TEMMINCK; Der Schilsanger, MEYER. 

The weight of this species is about three drachms ; length 
five inches and a half; bill dusky above, whitish beneath; 
irides hazel ; crown of the head and whole upper parts of a 
yellowish brown, plain on the back and sides of the neck, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts ; tail like the quills a little 
cuneiform, which, when spread, gives it a rounded shape ; legs 

THE WREN. 269 


In habit and manner the present species approaches to the 
former, but is a much handsomer bird ; though not so rare, it 
frequents the sides of ditches, ponds, and rivers, like the last 
species, where it pours forth its variable diurnal and nocturnal 
song almost incessantly, on its first arrival in this country, 
which is generally the beginning of April, leaving us again 
about the middle of September. It builds its nest in a thicket 
of reeds, or other tall water-grass, on which it is fastened up 
with the webs of caterpillars, similar to that of the former, 
which is fastened to the branches of trees, so that no wind or 
storm can move it. 

The song of the present species is somewhat similar to that 
of the last, but is more shrill and chattering; some people 
prefer it to that of the latter species, but I do not, as it wants 
some fine deep notes that the other possesses: it is also an 
imitative bird, its song being intermixed with the call of the 
sparrow and parts of the songs of other birds. Its food is 
precisely the same as that of the last species ; and in confine- 
ment the treatment for both must be exactly alike. 


Motacilla Troglodytes, LINN.EUS ; Le Roitelet, ou Trog odite, BUPFON ; Dor 
ZaunkOnig, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS, except the rufous chiff-chaff and the gold-crested wren, 
is the smallest bird of our climate. It is only three inches 
and a half in length, of which the tail measures one and a 
half. The beak is five lines, rather curved at the point, dusky 
above, yellowish white below, and yellow within ; the iris is 
hazel brown ; the shanks are seven lines high, and greyish 
brown ; the upper part of the body is dusky rust brown, with 
indistinct dark brown streaks across. 


The female is smaller, of a redder brown, and confusedly 
streaked across ; the feet are yellowish. 

HABITATION. When wild it is found all over Europe, and particularly 
frequents mountainous and woody places. It docs not quit us, but remains 
in winter, as in summer, near our dwellings. 

In the house, on account of its liveliness, it is given rather a large cage, 
the bars of which should be very near together. If allowed to range it 
may easily escape through small openings, as it is very fond of penetrating 
such crevices. 

FOOD. At liberty, it consists throughout the year of small insects, 
which it seeks in winter in barns, stables, cellars, holes in walls, and piles 
of wood. In autumn, however, it will eat both unripe and black elder- 

As soon as it is brought into the house it must be plentifully supplied 
with meal-worms, flies, elderberries, and then gradually add nightingales' 
paste, which will soon become its ordinary food. It is only by adopting 
this method that I have been successful in preserving one of these birds. 

BREEDING. Any nook appears to suit the wren to build its large nest 
in ; which may be found in a hole of a tree, amongst the roots, under a 
roof, or a cavity under ground ; every place is suitable, provided the nest 
can be concealed. This is oval, covered with moss on the outside, and 
lined with feathers and hair. It has an opening at the top or side to go 
in and out by. The female lays from six to eight pretty little white eggs, 
speckled with red. The young ones are rusty red, spotted with black and 
white. They may be reared on ants' eggs, adding, as soon as they can fly, 
the universal paste ; but they always prefer ants' eggs. 

MODE OF TAKING. If in winter, a white-throat trap is set in a jlace 
much frequented by these birds, and meal-worms scattered within and 
around it. In this the wrens will surely be caught. They may be en- 
trapped in autumn with spring traps and springes, by hanging elder-berries 
before ; but, after every precaution, they generally break their legs. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its sprightliuess is pleasing, and its actions gay 
and varied. It has a very powerful voice for its size, and its song is 
continued throughout the year ; it is soft, and mingled with some notes of 
the canary, whieh are the more pleasing as they consist of distinct loud 
tones always descending. Its call is tzrr, tzetzererr ! I have never 
preserved one more than a year, but other amateurs say they may be 
kept two or three. 


Motacilla liegulus, LINN.EUS ; Le Poul, ou Roitelet huppe", BUFFON ; Das 
Goldhahnchen, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is the smallest of European birds. It is three inches 
and a half in length, of which the tail measures one and a 


quarter. The beak is four lines, slender, very sharp, and 
black, having the nostrils covered with a feather divided like 
a comb ; the iris is dusky ; the shanks are eight lines in height, 
and brownish flesh-coloured ; the forehead is yellowish brown ; 
a black streak extends from the corners of the beak to the 
eyes, above which is a white streak, and below them a white 
speck ; the top of the head is saffron yellow, each side edged 
with golden yellow, beyond which is a black band. 

The female has the top of the head golden yellow, the 
forehead and wings grey. 

HABITATION. When wild these pretty little birds are diffused through- 
out the old world, principally frequenting pine and fir forests, and do not 
appear to migrate, excepting those that inhabit northern countries, and go 
towards the south in October, and return in March ; at least, they are 
then observed on their passage, in Germany, the hedges being full of them 
iu spring ; but those established among us remain, as they are seen all the 
year. They assemble in small nights in winter, and fly about here and 
there, like the tits, seeking places where their food is most abundant. 

In the house a bell-shaped cage appears to suit them best. Several 
may be kept together in a part of a room enclosed with trellis work, and 
with a small fir tree for them to perch on. Reared from the nest, they 
may be allowed to perch on a tree in the room, which they enjoy so much 
that they are never far from it ; if there are many they will perch in a row, 
press close side by side, and sleep in this manner. 

FOOD In the mid state it feeds on all kinds of small insects and 
their grubs ; they are, however, able to swallow large flies, as the beak 
has a wide opening. 

In the house the gold-crests are soon accustomed to the nightingales' 
paste, by throwing amongst it at first flies deprived of their wings, or half 
dead, and at length they will be satisfied with bruised hemp-seed; but 
they must have insects occasionally, flies, meal-worms cut small, ants' eggs, 
&c. : finally, to keep them healthy, their paste should be neither too stiff 
nor too moist, and care must be taken to avoid their swallowing rape or 
camelin seed, which would immediately kill them *. 

BREEDING. The nest, fixed to the extremity of a branch, is round, and 
very soft, built of moss, caterpillar's cocoons, and tufts of thistle down ; 
it is generally found in low underwood or meadows with woods adjoining, 
on the first tree towards the cast. About nine eggs are laid, the size of a 
pea, and pale blush red. Those young ones intended to be reared must 
not be taken from the nest till they are fledged, and it is best to catch 

* One of these pretty birds, which I had in my room one winter, ate with 
pleasure, and appeared to thrive upon, a very simple paste, made of the crumb of 
white bread dried in an oven and powdered : a teaspoonful of this was put in a 
cup, and three teaspoonfuls of milk, as hot as it could be made without boiling, 
poured over it. AUTHOR. 


them just as they are leaving the nest. They eat readily meal-worms cut 
small, flies, ants' eggs, and white bread soaked in boiled milk. 

MODE OF TAKING. As they are not fearful, they may easily be caught 
by gently approaching the tree where one 5s perched, and merely striking 
it with a limed twig fastened to a pole long enough to reach it. It may 
be brought down also with water, in the manner adopted by M. Le 
Vaillaut, that is, by first putting into a gun the common charge of powder, 
then a wadding of silk, then, as soon as the bird is within reach, two 
spoonfuls of water are poured in and covered with a second wadding of 
silk, which must not be rammed down hard, lest the water should reach 
the powder below. This load, discharged at the distance of twenty paces, 
is capable of wetting the bird so completely that it may be taken by the 
hand ; but if there are hedges in the neighbourhood, or if a stronger bird 
be fired at 3 a chaffinch, for instance, it may easily escape. 

Many gold-crested wrens may be caught by means of a hut set for any 
small birds, when the way to attract them is known. They come in great 
numbers to the water trap, and by their often repeated call of tzitt, tzitt, 
give notice of sunset and the arrival of larger birds. 

They will soon grow tame enough to eat out of the hand. On account 
of their delicacy, many often die before a person succeeds in rearing 
one ; but when once accustomed to the house they will live a long time, 
at least if not hurt by other birds, and if they do not swallow what they 
cannot digest. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The smallness of their size, their elegance and 
beauty, render them a pleasant acquisition ; but their song adds to their 
attractions, for though weak it is very melodious, and resembles that of 
the canarv. 


The golden-crested wren and the common brown wren are 
both very impatient of cold. In confinement, the least frost 
is immediately fatal to them. In a wild state they keep them- 
selves warm by constant active motion in the day, and at 
night they secrete themselves in places where the frost cannot 
reach them ; but I apprehend that numbers do perish in severe 
winters. I once caught half a dozen golden wrens at the 
beginning of winter, and they lived extremely well upon egg 
and meat, being exceedingly tame. At roosting time there 
was always a whimsical conflict amongst them for the inside 
places, as being the warmest, which ended of course by the 
weakest going to the wall. The scene began with a low 
whistling call amongst them to roost, and the two birds on 
the extreme right and left flew on the backs of those in the 


centre, and squeezed themselves into the middle. A fresh 
couple from the flanks immediately renewed the attack upon 
the centre, and the conflict continued till the light began to 
fail them. A severe frost in February killed all but one of 
them in one night, though in a furnished drawing-room. The 
survivor was preserved in a little cage by burying it every 
night under the sofa cushions; but having been one sharp 
morning taken from under them before the room was suffi- 
ciently warmed by the fire, though perfectly well when 
removed, it was dead in ten minutes. The nightingale is not 
much more tender of cold than a canary bird. The golden- 
crowned wren veiy much frequents spruce fir trees and cedars, 
and hangs its nest under their branches ; it is also fond of the 
neighbourhood of furze bushes, under which it probably finds 
warm refuge from the cold. The brown wren is very apt in 
frosty weather to roost hi cow-houses, where the cattle keep 
it warm. 


Sturnus collaris, LINNAEUS ; Motacilla Alpina, LINNAEUS ; La Fauvette des Alpes, 
BUFFON ; Der Alpenslinger, BECHSTEIN. 

THE characteristics of this bird are so equivocal that it is 
sometimes ranked with the larks, sometimes with the starlings, 
and sometimes with the Motacillce. It is six inches and a half 
in length, but the tail alone measures nearly three. The beak 
is six lines, and is dark brown above and orange beneath ; the 
mandibles are flattish at the sides ; the iris is yellow ; the 
shanks are an inch high, and pale brown ; a whitish ash grey 
predominates on the head, neck, and back, but the latter is 
streaked with dark brown, the others with pale brown. 

The female and young ones are variegated with dark brown 
on the belly ; the back is dark, and the spots on the throat less 

OBSERVATIONS. This species frequents the secondary mountains of 
Switzerland and southern Germany, and is as common there as the field larks 
on our plains*. In winter it descends into the valleys, and approaches 

* It is rare in Britain TRANSLATOR. 


villages and barns, around which these birds may be caught, in as great 
numbers as yellowhammers. They are generally seen on the ground, 
running as swiftly as the wagtail, and will sometimes hop on stones, but 
rarely perch on trees. 

They feed on seeds and insects, and in the house they should be given 
bruised hemp-seed, poppy-seed, white bread, and ants' eggs. On this food 
they may be preserved for several years. Their eong is sweet, but sad and 
melancholy ; their attitudes are graceful, and often when they hop they 
flutter their wings and tail. They build on the ground or in clefts of 
rocks, which has given them the name of rock larks *. 


Parus major, LINN^IUS ; La grosse Mesange, ou Charbonniere, BUKFON ; Die 
Kohlmeise, B ECKSTEIN. 

THIS well-known bird is five inches and five-sixths in length, 
of which the tail measures two and a half. The beak is black- 
ish, conical, firm, pointed, and without slope, as are the beaks 
of the other tits ; the iris is dark brown ; the shanks are nine 
lines high, and lead blue ; the claws are sharp, and adapted for 
climbing; the upper part of the head is of a brilliant black, 
which is joined to the black of the throat by a line of the same 
colour that borders and sets off the white of the cheeks and 
temples; the nape is greenish yellow, with some mixture of 
white ; the back is fine olive, and the rump pale ash grey ; the 
breast and belly are a yellowish green, divided lengthways by 
a black line. 

The female is smaller, the black on the head and the yellow 
on the nape are less bright ; the line that runs down the belly 
is narrower and shorter, at least it is lost at the part where in 
the male it is widest ; this marks the difference between young 
males and females, which are alike in other respects. 

* It is difficult to decide to what genus this species belongs ; it has the character- 
istics of several. Its size, habit, food , mixed insects and seeds, even its pace, for 
when on the ground it rarely hops like the warblers, but runs quickly head forwards, 
like the quails, scarcely ever resting on trees ; in all this it bears a relation to the 
larks. Now as there are larks that appear to form the link between that genus and 
the warblers, the Alpine warbler may be said to form one also between the warblers 
and the larks. TRANSLATOR. 

t It is calkd Joe Bent by the London bird-catchers. TRANSLATOR. 


HABITATION In its wild state it is found throughout the old world, but 

in the greatest numbers in mountainous countries, where orchards and 
groves abound, and woods of beech, oak, and similar trees, are found alter- 
nately with those of fir. Though these birds do not migrate, yet in autumn 
they assemble and pass the winter together, seeking their food amongst 
orchards and woods. In autumn, as soon as the bird-catchers see these 
flights of tits succeed each other quickly, they call it their passage, and im- 
mediately prepare snares for taking them. In March each pair separates 
and prepares for breeding. 

In the house, if kept in a cage, this should be of iron wire, and bell- 
shaped, for the advantage of seeing the birds twirl about, and drop from one 
stick to another like monkeys. If they be allowed to range, it is necessary 
to supply them with abundance of the food they like, for if this fails they 
will attack the other birds, and pierce their heads to eat the brain ; when 
once they have tasted this food there is no longer safety for the birds around 
them, whatever their size may be. I have seen an oxeye attack a quail 
and kill it in this way. Some bird-catchers say that the tits with forked 
tails are alone addicted to this, but they are mistaken ; it is certainly true 
that some are more cruel than others, experience teaches us this every day. 

FOOD When wild they feed on insects, seeds, and berries, destroy many 

smooth caterpillars, flies, grasshoppers, gnats, and small butterflies, and 
climb about the trees like woodpeckers, seeking in the moss the eggs and 
grubs of insects. In autumn and winter they cat all kinds of seeds, 
especially hemp-seed, fir, and pine-seed, oats, kernels of fruit, mast nuts, 
and occasionally flesh. They hold these things in their claws, tear them 
with their beak, and skin them with their tongue. 

In the house they will eat any thing on the table, meat, bread, cheese, 
vegetables, sweet almonds, walnuts, filberts, lard, and all sorts of fat, all 
pastes adapted for other birds ; so that we must not attribute their early 
death to the delicacy of the tits, but to the want of care in those that have 
them. The more they eat the more they sing, and the less inclined they 
are to attack their companions. They drink often, and enjoy bathing. 

BREEDING. The oxeye builds in a hole of a tree or wall, sometimes in 
the forsaken nest of a squirrel, crow, or woodpecker. It lays on an artless 
bed of moss, wool, and feathers, eight or ten whitish eggs, sprinkled with 
large and small spots mixed with streaks of dark red, particularly at the 
large end, where they form a coronet. The young do not quit the nest till 
they can fly well. The under parts of the body are pale yellow ; and the 
black about them is not glossy as in the old birds. 

DISEASES. In a cage, this species is subject to vertigo or giddiness, 
occasioned by feeding too much on hemp-seed, which heats it and makes it 
twirl about too much. To cure the disorder, the bird should be kept for 
some time in a small square cage, or permitted to range the room. From 
the same cause often arises atrophy, consumption, and even gout, all which 
proves the injurious qualities of hemp-seed ; but with care on this point 
and a little attention it may live eight or ten years. 

MODE OF TAKING. . The chase after tits, is, according to bird-catchers, 
one of the most agreeable, and is pursued in many ways ; but I shall con- 


fine myself to two or three of the surest methods, specifying the best for 
taking those birds that are for the house. 

In autumn and spring, the bird-catcher should go into an orchard, or 
any other place much frequented by oxeyes, carrying one with him as a 
decoy ; this must be placed on the ground in a small square cage, and some 
sticks, with lime-twigs fastened to them, fixed obliquely around it. The 
tits, attracted by curiosity, or the desire of approaching one of their own 
species that calls them, quickly descend, and are caught in the lime-twigs. 
A whistle made of the bone of a goose's leg succeeds still better; with this 
instrument all the tits in the neighbourhood are quickly assembled ; for 
the tone being stronger than the natural call, it is heard farther ; if there 
are but few of these birds near, they are sure to be all caught. 

They are easily attracted, in winter, to a trap, by the kernels of nuts, 
lard, and oats. This trap should be placed in a garden, with a little oat 
straw fastened under in such a way that it may be seen at a distance, as the 
tits are instantly attracted thereby. It is a small box a foot in length, and 
eighteen inches in height and width, the sides of which, when not made of 
small boards painted green, are formed of small elder sticks, tied or screwed 
to the four corner sticks ; in this case only two small boards are required, 
one for the bottom, the other for the cover, which must be fastened on 
with packthread, and turn as with hinges ; from the middle of the bottom 
rises a peg supporting a cross stick, with a nut kernel at one end, and a 
little lard at the other; this cross stick supports a small perpendicular one, 
which keeps the cover open three or four inches. When a tit hops on the 
cross stick and begins pecking the nut or lard, the cover falls, and the bird 
is caught. 

The oxeye, like the other tits, assembles in numbers at the water-trap, 
commonly from seven to nine in the morning, and from four to five in the 

In autumn these birds are taken in nooses and common bird-traps, baited 
with berries, but the snare must be of horse hair, for if of thread, the bird, 
as soon as it feels itself caught, will try to bite through it, as mice do. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES The sprightliness and activity of these birds 
are very pleasing, but their gay and lively song still more so : in it are 
agreeably mingled the call "fick t fick" and the shrill " tzizerr" Nothing, 
in my opinion, is more pleasing than to hear repeated fifteen or twenty 
times following these striking notes, " sitzida, sitzida, stiti, stiti." One 
may judge of the capability of young ones to imitate the song of other 
birds, from the facility with which the full-grown birds learn detached 
parts, and particularly different calls. 

Some people amuse themselves by making these birds perform many 
little manoeuvres, such as drawing up their food with a chain, turning a 
cylinder* which has the appearance of being moved by two miners, and 
hopping after a nut suspended to a thread. 

* This cylinder oftens occasions their death. It is only by great address and 
quickness that they can pass through the hole of communication ; each time they 
run the risk of being crushed, especially on coming out, from the prolonged motion 
f the machine TRANSLATOR. 


Parus ater, LINN^US ; La petite Charbonniere, BUFFON ; Die Tannenmeise, 

THE length of this bird is four inches and one-sixth, of which 
the tail measures one and three-quarters, and the beak one 
quarter. The back is black, with the tip lighter ; the iris is 
dusky; the shanks are eight lines high, and lead blue; the 
upper part of the head and neck are black ; there is rather a 
broad streak of white at the back of the head and down the 
nape of the neck ; the cheeks and sides of the neck are also 
white, forming, when the bird is at rest, a triangular spot ; the 
back is dark bluish ash grey. 

The female is not easily distinguished from the male, unless 
both are before you ; its being a little less black on the breast, 
and a little less white on the sides, are the only differences. 

HABITATION. When wild these birds are seen in great numbers in pine 
forests, and seldom, except during their wanderings in autumn, winter, and 
spring, are they met with in other kinds of woods, groves, and orchards. 
They often pass from one pine forest to another in large nights during the 
winter*. They appear to like the society of the gold-crested wrens, which 
are always found in these flights, as also some crested tits, which serve as 

In the house it is pleasanter to allow them to range with the other birds 
than to keep them in a cage, yet there is some danger to their companions 
from their cruelty. 

FOOD When wild, besides insects and their grubs, they feed on the 
seeds of different resinous trees ; but as they are often deprived of this food 
in winter from the trees being loaded with snow and hoar frost, nature has 
given them the instinct to provide against this emergency : they hide a 
great quantity of these seeds in fissures, and under the large scales of the 
bark of pine trees, to which store they have recourse when in want. 

The instinct just alluded to is manifested also in the house, even when 
they have abundance of all kinds of food ; where they are observed to rob 

* It is not uncommon in Britain, such as near London, &c TRANSLATOR. 


the other birds of seeds and bits of nuts, and run and hide them imme- 
diately in any crevices they may find, often visiting these stolen stores 
afterwards to see if they are safe. The blue tit and the oxeye are also 
accustomed to carry part of their food into a corner, but they do not hide 
with so much care, or from the same cause, as the cole tit. These birds 
are commonly fed on the universal paste, but they are accustomed to it 
with difficulty. 

BREEDING. This species generally places its nest either in some hole 
deserted by a mole or mouse, or under the overhanging edges of some deep 
wheel-rut in an old disused road, rarely in holes of trees or walls. The 
nest is composed of a layer of moss covered over with the fur of the hare, 
roe-buck, and stag. There are two broods in the year, each of six or eight 
white eggs, prettily speckled with pale red. The plumage of the young 
differs from that of the old only in having the black duller and less glossy. 

DISEASES. Decline is the most common disorder of these birds, and it 
is sometimes prevented by giving them fresh ants' eggs, particularly when 
moulting. I kept a cole tit six years, and it then died of old age, having 
first become blind, and been often attacked with vertigo or giddiness. 

MODE OF TAKING. Less timid and distrustful than the oxeye, this 
species may be caught with greater ease. A limed twig fastened to a pole 
is often sufficient, with which you approach the tree on which the bird is, 
and, touching it with the twig, it becomes your prisoner. Its call is " tzip 
teune." Like all the tits, it is delicate, and, in the house, often dies soon 
before being accustomed to the common paste. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. This is a very amusing little bird ; bold, 
lively always In motion, hopping and fluttering about continually. Its 
song is only a clashing of harsh tones, relieved by a clear sonorous " tzifi^ 
repeated twenty times in succession. It sometimes ends, however, with so 
reflective an air, that you would think it was going to give something very 


Parus cseruleus, LINNJEUS ; La Mesange bleue, BUFFON ; Der Blaumeise, 

THIS pretty bird is four inches and a half long, of which the 
tail measures two. The beak is three lines in length, and 


dusky, but whitish at the edges and tip ; the iris is dark brown ; 
the shanks are eight lines high, and lead blue ; the front of the 
head and cheeks are white ; a white line passing from the fore- 
head above the eyes forms a border to the fine sky-blue of the 
top of the head; a black line crosses the eyes; the black of 
the throat becomes on the sides of the neck a dark blue band, 
which surrounds the head. 

The female is rather smaller than the male, the streaks about 
the head not being so clearly denned, while the blue has the 
appearance of being tinged with ash grey. The line down 
the under part of the body is scarcely observable. 

HABITATION. These birds, in their wild state, frequent woods, parti- 
cularly those of beech and oak. During autumn and winter they wander 
from one place to another, and are often seen in considerable numbers in 
our orchards. 

In the house they may be kept in a cage like the oxeye ; but it is prefer- 
able to let them hop and flutter about at pleasure, as their plumage is then 
seen to the greatest advantage. They are as mischievous and quarrelsome 
as the oxeye, and pursue the other birds in the same manner, even killing 
them when they are strong enough. 

FOOD. When wild they feed on insects and their grubs, and in autumn 
on berries *. 

In the house they should be given the same food as the oxeye, accustom- 
ing them to it at first by mixing bruised hemp-seed with it. They like to 
wash themselves. 

BREEDING. The nest, placed at the top of a tree in an old hollow 
branch, is built of moss, hair, and feathers. This species lays from eight to 
ten reddish white eggs, speckled and spotted with brown. The plumage 
of the young birds differs from that of the older ones, only in being less 
bright and glossy. 

DISEASES. Most of these birds that are caught in winter, are attacked 
with vertigo, or giddiness, after being in the house a few days, fall to the 
right and left, and being unable to find their food, soon die. 

MODE OF TAKING. They may be caught in the same way as the oxeye. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The blue tit is easily tamed, and lives two or 
three years. Its beauty and activity are more attractive than its song, 
which is merely an indistinct warbling, composed of a few strains, amongst 
which some higher notes are occasionally introduced. 

* They are fond of picking bones TRANSLATOR. 


Parus palustris, LINNJBUS ; La M^sange des marais, BUFFON ; Der Sumpfmeise, 

THE length of this bird is four inches and a half, of which 
the tail measures nearly two ; the heak is four lines in length, 
and black ; the shanks are five lines high, and lead blue ; the 
upper part of the head, as far as the nape, is black ; the tem- 
ples and cheeks are white; the upper part of the body is 
brownish grey ; the throat is black. 

The female has less black on the throat than the male. 

HABITATION. In their wild state, these hirds, during the summer, fre- 
quent groves and orchards ; in winter, they assemble in flocks, and when 
they move from place to place, always fly in a line one behind the other *. 

In the house they should be allowed to flutter and hop about freely ; 
they are very delicate, and require a great deal of care at first. 

FOOD. When wild, they feed on insects, seeds, and elderberries, 
according to the season. 

In the house they eat the same things as other tits ; but at first, ants' 
eggs and elderberries must be added. The seeds of the sunflower (Helian- 
thus major) have succeeded best with me, and preserved them in health 
longest. They will also eat hemp-seed and oats. 

BREEDING They lay ten or twelve rusty white eggs, spotted with 

reddish yellow, in a hole of a tree, on a bed of moss, hair, and feathers. 

MODE OF TAKING In winter they will easily enter a trap baited with 
nut kernels or oats. A surer method is, to lay limed twigs on a sunflower 
plant, the seeds of which are ripe. If these tits do not enter the garden, 
a plant must be carried to a place much frequented by them. When once 
these birds have tasted these seeds, they appear quite contented in the 
house. It is only necessary to supply them freely ; they will seize them 
eagerly directly after being taken. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Their pretty actions please, and their song is 
sweet. They relieve it occasionally by a lively strain, " diar, diar, hitzi 
ailtz, ailtz ! " which is their call in the pairing season. 

I was never able to keep one in the house beyond two or three years. 

They are not uncommon in Britain, such as about London, &c.~ TRANSLATOR. 



Parus cristatus, LINN^US ; La Mesange huppe"e, BUFFON ; Die Haubenmeise, 

THIS bird is four inches and a half in length, of which the 
tail measures one and one third. The beak is four lines, and 
black ; the shanks are seven lines high, and lead blue ; the head 
is adorned with a crest, composed of feathers nearly an inch 
long, black tipped with white, which the bird can erect at 
pleasure in a conical form. 

HABITATION. When wild these birds frequent all the pine and fir woods 
in Thuringia, but are not so numerous as the other species *. They fly 
about low bushes, and therefore delight in places where juniper bushes 

In the house they require the same treatment as the blue tit, and even 
greater attention ; they can rarely be tamed when taken full grown f. 

FOOD. In a wild state it feeds in the same manner as the cole tit. 

In the house it must be first fed on ants' eggs, flies, and meal-worms. 
It will afterwards eat nuts and hemp-seed, like the other tits, but it seems 
to require insects occasionally. 

BREEDING. The nest is formed like that of the cole tit, and placed in the 
hole of a tree, amongst some stones, or in large forsaken nests. The brood 
consists of from six to ten snow-white eggs, spotted with bright red. The 
young must be reared on meal-worms cut small and ants' eggs. 

MODE OF TAKING. This is the same which is adopted for catching the 
cole tits. Its call is " gcerrky" 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Its song is not striking, but its form and habits 
are very pleasing. 

* It is found, but rarely, in the fir woods in the north of Scotland. TRANSLATOR. 

t I have, however, seen one old crested tit that was tamed as easily as any other 
bird. After passing the winter in a cage it refused its liberty in the spring. It was 
then placed in the garden near the house, where it remained till evening, having 
hopped about all day, uttering restless anxious cries. Its mistress, fearing some 
accident befalling it during the night, held the cage towards it, into which it in- 
stantly jumped with pleasure. Since then it has been allowed to range three adjoin- 
ing rooms. It is always lively, coming when its mistress calls, and perching on her 
finger, and seeking in her half-closed hand the flies she may have there. It made a 
nest in a window-curtain, into which it would glide secretly in the evening, but would 
never go whilst any eyes were turned on that side, and seized a favourable moment 
so quickly, thaf for some time no one knew where it retired ; when it was discovered, 
the curtains were never touched. TRANSLATOR. 


Paras biarmicus, LINN^SUS ; La Msange barbue, BUFFON ; Die Bartmeise, 

THIS singular species is somewhat in shape like the oxeye. 
It is six inches and a half in length, and measures ten and a 
quarter across the expanded wings ; the tail is two and three 
quarters. The beak is four lines long, a little bent at the 
point, and is orange during life, but becomes pale yellow after 
death ; it is surrounded at the base with black hairs. The iris 
is yellow ; the shanks are one inch high, and black ; the head 
is pale ash grey ; a tuft of black feathers, which are placed 
under the eyes and terminate in a point, is no very slight 


imitation of a moustache. The tail is wedge-shaped, inclining 
to orange ; the outer feathers are dark at the base and whitish 
at the tip ; the third is tipped with white. 

The female is without the beard, or moustache * ; the top 
of the head is rust red, spotted with black ; the vent is of the 
same colour as the belly. 

HABITATION. In a wild state these birds are found where there are 
lakes, large ponds, and extensive marshes full of reeds and aquatic plants ; 
they rarely show themselves in summer, keeping in pairs amongst the 
tufted reeds ; but they are seen in winter, when food failing them in these 
retreats, they fly about in families, perching on the trees and bushes -f\ 

In the house they must be kept in a large cage to allow them plenty of 
exercise, unless permitted to range the room, which is still better. 

FOOD. When wild this bird feeds principally on aquatic insects and the 
seeds of the common reed (Arundo phragmitis). 

In the house they are generally first fed on poppy-seed, ants' eggs, and 
meal-worms, and afterwards on bruised hemp-seed and the food common 
for the other tits. It is best to rear them from the nest, as it is very diffi- 
cult to preserve those taken when full grown. 

BREEDING. The knowledge on this head is very limited : the nest, placed 

in the interwoven stems of the reeds, is in the shape of a purse, and com- 
posed of dried grass and the down of several plants. In this the female 
lays four or five speckled eggs, with a pale red ground. The young birds 
should be taken from the nest when they are ready to fly, and fed on ants' 
eggs and meal-worms cut small. 

MODE OF TAKING There is much difficulty in this. Fishermen who 

know the places frequented by this species place limed twigs on the reeds, 
and try gently to drive them towards one side, and sometimes catch a few +. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. In this bird are united beautiful plumage, a 
graceful shape, and sprightliness. Its song resembles that of the blue tit, 
but its call is very different. It is a pity it is so difficult to obtain. Buffon 
says that all of this species that are found in England sprang from a pair 
the Countess of Albemarle suffered to escape ; but most likely they had not 
been seen before from want of attention. 

* This is not quite correct, the female having small moustaches of a light colour. 

f They abound in the fens of Lincolnshire, on the Thames below Greenwich, &c 

J Great numbers are brought from Holland to London, and sell for about five 
shillings a pair. TRANSLATOR. 



CHARACTERISTICS. The beak is slender, straight, rather 
bent at the point, swelled, and covered with a fleshy membrane 
at the base ; the shanks are short ; the toes are divided to their 
origin. Doves feed uniformly on grain, though some wild species 
also eat myrtle berries. 

These birds are faithful to their mates, and produce only two 
young ones at each brood, which they feed on grain already 
softened in their own crops *. They are generally ranged 
amongst the passerine birds, or among poultry, but I think it 
best to make them a distinct order, since they have many dis- 
tinguishing characteristics. The species I shall mention are 
indigenous, and easily tamed at any age. 

* This is a mistake : the food given to the young is a sort of thick milky secretion 
from the stomach of the parent birds, both male and female. TRANSLATOR. 


Columba Palumbus, LINNJEUS ; Le Pigeon Ramier, BUFFON; Die Ringeltaube, 

THIS is the largest of the European wild pigeons, being in 
length seventeen inches and a half. Some naturalists suppose 
this to be the parent stock of our large domestic pigeons ; but 
it cannot be domesticated so easily as the stock dove, and never 
mixes with the common pigeons in the fields. It does not, 
moreover, retire into hollows, like these, but lives and builds 
in open and exposed places. The beak is reddish white ; the 
iris is pale yellow ; the shanks are reddish ; the head and throat 
are dark ash grey ; the front of the neck and the breast are 
purplish ash grey ; the sides and back of the neck are fine 
iridescent purple ; an almost crescent-shaped white streak 
adorns the sides of the neck towards the base, without quite 
surrounding it ; the belly, the vent, and the thighs, are very 
pale grey ; the sides are light ash grey ; the upper part of the 
back, the scapulars, and the lesser wing-coverts, are light 
brownish ash grey ; the coverts of the primary quill-feathers 
are black ; the remaining greater coverts are pale ash grey ; the 
tail is dark ash grey, deepening into black at the extremity. 

In the female the streaks on the sides of the neck are not so 
wide as in the male ; her breast is paler, and all the wing- 
coverts are an obscure grey. 

HABITATION. This species, found in Europe and Asia within the tem- 
perate zone, is very common in the woods of Germany and Britain: it 
quits us the beginning of October, in small flights, and does not return 
till the middle of March, and sometimes later, always some weeks after the 
stock dove. During harvest it frequents small groves and detached thickets, 
to be nearer the corn fields. 


FOOD It feeds on all kinds of corn and leguminous seeds, myrtle 
berries, with the seeds of pines and firs. When a ring dove is caught it 
must be first fed on wheat, and other species of corn should by degrees be 
mixed with it, but not oats. It will only live a few years in the house. 

BREEDING. This species builds in trees, and forms its nest of dried 
branches, but so carelessly that a rather high wind will often blow it down. 
The female has two broods in the year, and lays two large white eggs each 
time. It succeeds very well to place these eggs under a domestic pigeon, 
and if care is taken to prevent the young birds from migrating in autumn 
they will afterwards remain in the pigeon house, going out and returning 
like the other pigeons that inhabit it ; but I have never observed that 
they pair with them ; I have sometimes seen the ring dove tread the 
domestic pigeon, but as yet nothing has resulted from it ; future experiments 
may perhaps decide this point. 

MODE OF TAKING. This is the same as with the stock dove. Ring 
doves taken when old rarely eat, and die of hunger if they are not 
crammed, like young pigeons. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Besides being a fine bird, the male coos in a 
very pleasing and sonorous manner, moving all the time around his mate, 
now before, then behind, hopping close to her side, and turning his head in 
every direction. It may be rendered very tame. 


Columba Turtur, LINNAEUS ; La Tourterelle, BUFFON ; Die Turteltaube, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS pretty species is ten or eleven inches in length. The 
beak is slender, and pale blue ; the iris is reddish yellow ; the 
naked circle round the eyes is blush red ; the legs and feet are 
reddish purple ; the forehead is whitish ; the top of the head 
and upper part of the neck are pale blue ; from this to the tail 
the blue is more dingy ; on each side of the neck is a black spot 
striped with three or four crescent-shaped white lines, which 
has a pretty effect. 

HABITATION. In their wild state these birds are found throughout the 
temperate parts of Europe and Asia, and also in many of the South Sea 
Islands. They always prefer woods, but never go far into those on great 
chains of mountains; they also frequent detached thickets, and even 
orchards when near forests. Being more delicate than the two preceding 
species, they do not arrive in our woods till the end of April or beginning 
of May, and quit us in September. They are often seen in great numbers 
in the forests of Thuringia when the pine seed has ripened well. In 1788 


a prodigious number were seen ; they have never since been so numerous 
there *. 

In the house we keep them within a grated partition near the stove, where 
they can range freely. Young ones reared by a domestic pigeon are easily 
accustomed to the dovecot, but as they are very sensible to cold it is neces- 
sary to warm the place they are in during winter. These birds multiply 
fast, either paired amongst themselves or with the collared turtle dove. 

FOOD The seeds of the pine seem to be their favourite food here, but 
they do not confine themselves to it ; they eat peas, vetches, millet, hemp- 
seed, rye, and wheat. In the house they may be fed on bread and any 
grain at hand : they are easily preserved. 

BREEDING When wild, their nest, negligently formed of dried sticks, is 

tolerably secure when placed in a pine, but is often blown down when in a 
beech. The female lays two white eggs. 

In the house the turtle dove is given a small straw basket, in which it 
builds, for, whether reared from the nest, or taken when full grown, it pairs 
without difficulty, and produces young ones. It will also pair with the 
collared turtle. 

The cooing of the male is peculiar ; he utters a deep prolonged sound, 
then bends his head and stops. The young birds are grey on the upper part 
of the body, and spotted with bluish black on the wings. Those sprung 
from a collared and a common turtle dove are more or less like either ; 
generally they are reddish grey on the head, neck, and breast, the back and 
wing-coverts, with red appearing through the grey ; the belly, the secondary 
quill-feathers, and the end of the tail, are white, and the primaries greyish 
brown. These birds are fruitful, and produce others ; what is curious is 
that they are larger than the parent birds, and have a peculiar note. This 
is certainly also the case with other mule birds, as I have often observed. 

MODE OF TAKING This is the same as with the two preceding species ; 
snares placed where salt is strewed for deer are sufficient. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. The inhabitants of our forest villages are very 
fond of having this turtle dove in their stove apartments, less on account of 
its agreeable qualities than from the persuasion that it cures their colds and 
rheumatisms. It is certainly true that this bird is generally ill during the 
illness of its masters f. It will., however, live six or eight years in the 


Coluraba risoria, LtNN^tis ; La Tourterelle a collier, BUFFON ; Die Lachtaube, 

THIS bird is twelve inches in length ; the beak is reddish 
white at the base, and dusky on the remaining part ; the iris 

* In England they are not uncommon in the woods. TRANSLATOR. 
t The close and mephitic air of these rooms, which are kept warmer whilst a 
person is ill, may well produce this apparent sympathy. TRANSLATOR. 


is golden yellow ; the shanks are red ; the upper part of the 
body is reddish white, the under part is pure white ; the back 
of the neck is adorned with a black crescent, the points of 
which turn forward, and the lower part is edged with white ; 
the shafts of the quill and tail feathers are dusky. 
The female is whiter than the male. 

HABITATION This species is a native of India and China, from which 

it has been brought to Europe. It is very common among our peasants, 
who fancy it has the power of curing their colds and rheumatisms *. They 
assign these poor birds some grated place near the stove, sometimes under 
a bench ; if they are allowed to range, their wings must be clipped, to 
prevent their flying against the windows, and breaking them. They will 
generally run under the stove, as they are fond of warmth. They may be 
accustomed to the dovecot, but their showy plumage often occasions them 
to fall a prey to carnivorous birds. It is also necessary either to warm the 
dovecot, or remove them to a heated room during the winter. 

FOOD They prefer wheat, and this should be their common food ; they 

will also eat millet, linseed, poppy, and rape-seed, and even bread. The 
peasants give them the siftings of their corn. 

BREEDING. A piece of fur, or soft stuff, or still better, a little basket, 
serves as the foundation for their nests. To this they merely add a little 
straw, on which they lay two white eggs. They sit on these a fortnight, 
but rarely hatch more than one, either from the egg being unfruitful, or 
from the carelessness of the parent birds. It is therefore rare to see them 
rear six young ones in the year. These resemble the old ones, and the 
sex is known by the absence or presence of the reddish colour. 

DISEASES Besides decline, they are subject to all the diseases that 

attack the persons shut up in the same room ; small-pox, when the children 
have it ; swollen legs, when any one is attacked with this complaint ; and 
tumours in the feet, when these are prevalent. Thus we see they partake 
of the diseases of their masters, but without curing them, which is contrary 
to the ridiculous persuasion of the ignorant peasant. Yet with all these 
evils they will live seven years. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. These birds are very neat and gentle. Their 
cooing resembles laughter ; but, besides this, the male has other tones still 
more tender, to invite his mate to come to the nest, and he passes the 
night close to her side. When he coos he does not turn like the domestic 
pigeon, but hops forward a little, then stops, bends his head to the ground, 
and swells his crop. 

* An erroneous opinion, which displays more egotism than humanity; yet do 
people generally act with more equity and disinterestedness ? 


CHARACTERISTICS. These birds are characterised by the 
beak being raised, and the upper mandible being arched, so 
that the edges of it go beyond those of the under mandible. 
The nostrils are covered with a convex cartilaginous mem- 
brane ; the tail is composed of more than twelve feathers ; 
the toes are connected as far as the first joint. Most of the 
species feed on gram, which is softened in their crops. I only 
know of six species that can be tamed in the house. 



Tetrao Perdrix, LINNAEUS ; La Perdrix grise, BUFFON ; Das gememe Rebhuhn, 


THIS well known bird, which is very fleshy, and has but 
few feathers, measures twelve inches and a half. Its beak is 
bluish, the feet brownish blush red ; under each eye is a 
naked skin of a bright scarlet colour; the general colour of 
the plumage is brown and ash grey, mixed with black ; the 
forehead, a streak above the eyes, and the throat, are fine 
chestnut brown ; the fore part of the neck and the breast are 
ash grey, with very fine black lines ; below the breast is a 
deep chestnut brown streak in the shape of a horse shoe, which 
is not found in the female, or at least not sO large nor so 
clearly defined ; the quill-feathers are dusky, with cross bands 
of rust red ; the tail-feathers are rust brown. 

HABITATION. The common partridge is found throughout Europe, in 
fields and adjoining woods : when in the open country, thickets and bushes 
serve as a retreat during the night. In wide plains, where the frosts are 
severe, and the snow so deep that the game is in danger of perishing, it is 
customary, in winter, to catch in a net as many as possible of these birds, 
and keep them in a warmed room with a high ceiling. If such a room 
cannot be had, the top of the room and windows should be hung with cloth, 
to prevent the frightened birds from injuring themselves. 

FOOD. In the house, when permitted to range, partridges may be fed on 
barley and wheat. They will also eat bread, the common universal paste, 
cabbage, beet, and lettuce ; for they like green vegetables, and these are 
almost indispensable to their health. In a state of liberty, they generally 
feed in winter on the tops of grass and young springing seeds. In the 
summer, they eat clover and other green plants, as well as all kinds of 
grain. They often roll in moist sand, which they should be allowed to do 
jn the house. 

BREEDING. The best way to domesticate the partridge, is to rear it 
young, in which case it becomes extremely tame, and its habits are very 
pleasing. These young birds must be fed at first on ants' eggs and hens' 
eggs boiled hard and chopped up with salad ; afterwards they will eat 
barley and other dry food. The covey often consists of twenty young ones, 
which follow the mother as soon as they are hatched, and often fall in the 
way of mowers, shepherds, and huntsmen. I am persuaded that it would 
not be difficult to render these birds quite domestic, if the eggs were 
hatched by our barn-door fowls, in an open, yet enclosed place, clipping the 
wings of the young ones, allowing them to range, during the summer, in a 
garden surrounded with walls, and giving them plenty of food. Supposing 
that this plan did not quite succeed the first summer, one would have at 


least half-tamed birds, which, by following the same plan, would gradually 
become more and more accustomed to domestic food, the society of man, 
and would certainly at last breed in the house, like our common fowls. 


Tetrao coturnix, LINNJEUS ; La Caille, BUFFON ; Die Wachtel, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS species is the most common of wild poultry kept in 
the house. It is rather more than seven inches in length. 
The beak is short and horn- coloured, dusky in summer, and 
ash grey in winter, like the partridge's and common fowl's ; 
the iris is olive brown ; the feet pale bluish red ; on the upper 
part of the body are dusky and rust-red spots, with some 
small white streaks; the throat is dusky, surrounded with 
two chestnut brown bands; the front of the neck and the 
breast are pale rust red, with some longitudinal dark streaks ; 
the belly is dusky white ; the thighs are reddish grey ; the 
quill-feathers are dark grey, crossed by many rust red lines ; the 
tail is short, dark brown, with pale rust red streaks across it. 

The female differs sensibly ; her throat is white, and her 
breast, paler than that of the male, is spotted with black like 
the thrush's. 

HABITATION. Wheu wild the quail is found throughout the old world. 
Unlike the other species of poultry, it is a bird of passage, arriving in Europe 
in May, and departing the end of September. It keeps continually in 
corn fields, preferring those of wheat. 

In the house, if allowed to range, its gentleness, neatness, and peculiar 
motions, are seen to advantage ; but it is often kept in a cage of the follow- 
ing make : A small box two feet long, one foot deep, and four high, of any 
shape which is preferred ; in this are left two or three openings, one for 
drinking at, the other to give light ; besides tliis all is dark ; the bottom 
is a drawer, which should be covered with sand, and have a seed drawer at 
one end ; the top is of green cloth, for a3 the quail often springs up it 
would hurt itself were it of wood. This case should be suspended during 
the summer outside the window, for the quail sings much more when con- 
fined in this manner than if allowed to range the room, where there are 
many things to call off its attention from its song*. 

* Here is another instance, in which man, seeking his own pleasure at the expense 
of the well being of other creatures, deceives himself respecting the motives. The 
poor prisoner does not sing to amuse himself, or from contentment ; its repeated 
cries call unceasingly for the mate from wMch it is separated; and though they 
have been vain throughout the day, he renews them on the morrow, no doubt, like 
man, supported by hope, a hope, alas ! which is never realised ! AUTHOR. 



" When a male without the female is allowed to run about the room, it 
is always necessary to shut it up in June (the pairing season), or else its 
ardent feelings tempt it to attack all the other birds, particularly those with 
a dark plumage, somewhat resembling its own. Larks, for example, it 
will follow, and pluck out their feathers till they are nearly bare. 

FOOD. In a wild state the quail feeds on wheat and other corn, rape- 
seed, millet, hemp-seed, and the like. It also eats green vegetables, as 
well as insects, and particularly ants' eggs. 

In the house it is fed on the same food, adding bread, barley meal mixed 
with milk, the universal paste, and occasionally salad or cabbage chopped 
up small, and, that it may want nothing to keep it in health, plenty of 
/iver sand for it to roll in and to peck up grains, which assist its digestion ; 
but this sand must be damp, for if dry it will not touch it. It drinks a 
great deal, and the water, contrary to the opinion of some persons, should 
be clear, never turbid. It moults twice in the year, once in autumn, and 
again in spring ; it then requires river sand, and greater attention than at 
other times. 

BREEDING. The quail breeds very late, never before July. Its nest, if 
it can be called so, is a hole scratched in the earth, in which it lays from 
ten to fourteen bluish-white eggs, with large brown spots. These are 
hatched after three weeks' incubation. The young ones, all hairy, follow 
the mother the moment they leave the shell. Their feathers grow quickly, 
for in the autumn they are able to depart with her to the southern coun- 
tries. The males are so ardent, that if one is placed in a room with a 
female, he will pursue her immediately with extraordinary eagerness, 
tearing off her feathers if she resists in the least; he is less violent if he 
has been in the same room with her during the year. The female, in this 
case, lays a great many eggs, but rarely sits on them ; yet if young ones 
are brought her from the fields, she eagerly receives them under her wings, 
and becomes a very affectionate mother to them. The young must be fed 
on eggs boiled hard and cut small, but the best way is to take the mother 
with the covey, which may be done with a net. She watches over them 
attentively, and they are more easily reared. During the first year one 
would think that all in the covey were females, the males resemble them 
so much, particularly before the brown shows itself on the throat. 

MODE OF TAKING. There are several different methods of taking quails, 
but I shall only mention the commonest and easiest. The male birds are 
generally caught in a net, called a quail- net, by means of a call which 
imitates the cry of the female in the breeding season ; it is the way adopted 
by bird-catchers in the spring, when they wish to take a male that sings 
in a superior manner, that is, which repeats a dozen times following the 
syllables " pieveroie." If the male has not yet met with a mate, and if 
he has not been rendered suspicious by some unskilful bird-catcher, he 
will run eagerly into the snare. The most important thing is to have a 
good call : they may be had cheap of turners at Nuremberg, who make 
them of leather, with a pipe turned from the bone of a cat or hare, or the 
leg of a stork ; but they may easily be made by any body. The first 
thing necessary is a piece of calf-skin, one foot in length, and four inches 
in breadth, the sides must be sewed together within two inches of the 


erid, and the bottom filled with a piece of woo d an inch and a. half in 
length, and rings composed of thick leather, the diameter of the interior 
opening not exceeding an inch and a half, are pushed into the sewed 
cylinder, and kept about a quarter of an inch apart ; the whole may after 
wards be pressed close together, making the rings touch each other ; then 
a tube made of the bone of a goose or hare, and filled at the end like a 
common whistle, is fastened to the part of the cylinder left unsewed ; the 
interior is then stopped with wax near the notch on the side of the leather, 
and a hole pierced through it with a knitting-needle ; the upper part of 
the tube must also be stopped with wax, and lastly, the lower part, which 
is thus become a kind of whistle, is very firmly tied to the unsewn part of 
the cylinder. When the call is to be used, the lower end must be held 
firmly in one hand, and the leather cylinder worked up and down with the 
other, making the rings approach and separate, which produces the notes of 
the female, " peuk, peuk,pupu." 

As soon as the male quail is heard that you wish to procure, you must 
advance softly to within fifty paces of his station, and place the trap 
amongst the wheat in such a position as will suffer i't to fall level with the 
ground, to prevent the bird's passing under and escaping. Then retire a 
few steps back, when the quail will soon utter its song, to which reply 
with two or three notes, that when the quail is silent he may only hear 
one or two, from the call exactly resembling the cry of the female. If 
this is not done with care, the bird will suspect treachery, and will either 
retire or remain silent, and never after fall into such a snare ; but if 
skilfully done, it is surprising to see how the bird proceeds directly to the 
call : if by chance he miss the trap, he will go so near as to be within 
reach of the hand ; in this case it is best to retire softly to the other side 
of the trap and repeat the call, which will again attract it. There are 
some quails that know how to avoid the net, particularly if placed in too 
open and exposed a place. In this case it is safest to turn it in a corner 
at both ends, and thus when it tries to turn it becomes entangled. 

It is proper to notice, that in damp weather, or when it rains, the 
quail does not run, but flies immediately towards the call. It does this 
also in dewy mornings and evenings ; dry days should therefore be chosen 
for this chase. In the pairing season, two, three, or even four quails may 
be taken at the same place. 

If no male is heard in the field, the call of the female must be well 
imitated on a larger and more powerful bird-call, and, if any males are 
within hearing, they will not fail to answer ; the person must then 
advance quickly, placing the net so as to stop their road, and repeat 
the call. 

When a female is to be caught, it is best to employ a common net, 
such as is used to take quails in autumn ; but this chase should be 
deferred till towards the end of harvest, when most of the corn is cut, and 
only a few pieces left standing, which serve to harbour numbers of these 
birds. Several nets are used at once, as many as six or eight ; some of 
them are placed across the field of corn, and the others parallel to them 
at the extremity of the same field : this being done, the party go to the 
opposite side and begin to drive the quails into the nets in the middle of 



the field by means of a packthread stretched across the corn, having little 
bells suspended to it by threads, so as almost to touch the ground, two 
persons holding it, and as they advance shaking it from time to time. 
As eoon as the prisoners are secured, the march is continued towards the 
nets at the end of the field ; and in this manner great numbers of 
quails, both male and female, are procured either for the house or for 
the table. 

ATTRACTIVE QUALITIES. Besides beauty of form and plumage, the 
song of this bird is no slight recommendation to the amateur. In the 
breeding season, that of the male commences by repeating softly, tones 
resembling " verra, verra" followed by the word " pieveroie" uttered 
in a bold tone, with the neck raised, the eyes shut, and the head inclined 
on one side. Those that repeat the last syllables ten or twelve times 
consecutively, are the most esteemed. That of the female only consists 
of " verra, verra" " pupu, pupu" the two last syllables being those 
by which the male and the female attract each other's attention ; when 
alarmed or angry their cry resembles " guillah ! " but at other times it is 
only a murmur, resembling the purring of a cat. 

The quail never sings when left to run about in a light room, except 
during the night, but continually when in a darkened cage. Those reared 
from the nest begin to sing the end of December, and continue till Sep- 
tember ; whilst those taken full grown rarely commence till the beginning 
of May, and cease in August. 



THE birds of this order are more or less bare above the 
knees ; their legs are eo long, that they have the appearance of 
standing on stilts. They may be tamed at any age, but this 
is best done when they are young. I shall only give here the 
following species. 


Cicouia alba, LINN^US ; La Cicogne blanche, BUFFON ; Der Weisse Starch, 

THE stork may be considered as half domestic, since it con- 
stantly builds on the tops of houses, on churches or towers in 
the midst of villages, and even towns*. Its beak is long and 

* It is now uncommon in Britain. TRANSLATOR. 


powerful, of a blood red colour, as are its legs and feet. It 
has a naked black ring round its eyes: the wings are black; 
the rest of the plumage white. 

OBSERVATIONS.. It is a bird of passage, which quits Europe the end of 
September, and returns in April. It feeds on fish, amphibious animals, 
field-mice, moles, and even weasels, which it catches coming out of their 
holes. It also eats insects, especially bees, which it catches by the beak- 
full on flowers. Its nest is only a heap of dry sticks woven together, and 
it occupies the same nest every year, after repairing it a little. I have 
been assured, that some nests have lasted a hundred years ; and the cir- 
cumference often becomes covered with sparrows and swallows' nests. The 
male and female never separate, and are a true model of conjugal fidelity. 
If the young ones are taken from the nest, and fed on frogs and meat, they 
may be rendered so tame that they will go a league from the house, and 
return again regularly. At the time of their flight, in September, the 
wings of those that are to be kept through the winter should be clipped, 
and they should be kept in a temperate place, as their feet are very sensi- 
ble to cold. They become so familiar that they will enter the room during 
meals, to be fed on meat from the table. A clapping with their beak 
expresses either anger or affection. It is very pleasing to see a tame stork 
circling round the house, and descending insensibly in a long spiral line 
till it reaches the ground. 


Ardea nigra, LINNAEUS ; Der schwarze Storch, BECHSTEIH. 

THIS species is nearly as large as the white stork, and is of 
the same form, but its limbs are weaker and more delicate. 
Its colour is a glossy brownish black, with the breast and 
belly white. It frequents woods in the neighbourhood of 
marshes, lakes, and large ponds, and makes its nest on the trees. 
Its habits and manner of feeding are similar to those of the 
white stork. In rearing the young ones, they may be ac- 
customed to remain in the house, and will soon become 


Scolopax rusticola, LINNAEUS ; La Be'casse, BUFFON ; Die Waldschnepfe, 

THE woodcock is found in every part of Europe where 
there are forests. The beak is three or four inches in length, 
straight, and reddish at the base ; the back of the head is 


crossed with dusky bands ; the upper part of the body and 
wings are rust brown, streaked with grey and black ; the 
breast and belly are dusky white, with dark brown lines. 

OBSERVATIONS. The woodcock builds its nest on the ground in moun- 
tainous districts ; lays three or four dusky pale yellow eggs, and feeds on 
worms, snails, and the grubs of insects, which it seeks in meadows, marshes, 
and fields. In October it quits the high lands for more temperate parts ; 
this migration is called its passage, and as these birds constantly follow 
the same route, this is the time when fowlers, scattered in its destined path, 
prepare for a chase, either with guns or large nets made for the purpose, 
and await the moment when these birds quit the meadows for the woods, 
or the woods for the meadows. The flight of woodcocks is slow and 
awkward, but they are very fine game, the flesh being wholesome and of an 
excellent flavour; they are generally cooked without taking out the 

In the house, by beginning with insects and ants' eggs, the woodcock 
may be accustomed by degrees to the universal paste. Twenty years ago 
I saw, in an aviary at Carlsruhe, a tame woodcock that would come from 
his cage and show himself to strangers; it was a male, and appeared very 
willing to pair, if it could have found a mate. 


Scolopax Gallinago, LINNJEUS ; La Becassine, BUFFON; Die Heerschnepfe, 

THIS Snipe is nearly the size of the quail, and inhabits the 
northern countries of Europe, Asia, and America, migrating in 
autumn to more temperate parts. Its rough beak is black in 
the front; its feet are brown; the head is divided longitudinally 
by two reddish brown lines ; the back is dark brown, with 
streaks across ; the throat is white ; the neck is brown, speckled 
with brick red ; the belly is white ; the vent is striped with 
black ; the quill-feathers are dark brown, tipped with white ; 
the tail-feathers are black from the base, tipped with orange, 
and having two dark brown streaks. 

OBSERVATIONS. The snipe darts through the air at a great height, and 
descends like an arrow, continually uttering the cry " maicherai." It is 
found in marshy places, abounding with bushes and brambles ; in a hole in 
the ground, washed by the water, it lays four or five dusky olive-coloured 
eggs, streaked with brown. Its common food is worms, and the grubs of 
insects, but it will eat corn, and the tender roots of marsh plants. Every 
one knows that it is delicate eating ; but many are ignorant that it may be 
tamed, and that it is then a very pleasing bird. 


Tringa Vanellus, LINNAEUS; Le Vanneu, BOPFON; Der gemeine Kiebetz, 

THIS bird is well known throughout Europe wherever there 
are water meadows. It is greenish on the back and wings ; 
black on the breast ; and has red feet, and a handsome crest. 

OBSERVATIONS. It feeds on all sorts of insects, small snails, worms, and 
even plants. The young ones are easily tamed. They are first fed on 
ants' eggs, and then gradually accustomed to bread, and even bran mixed 
with rnilk. The eggs may be placed under pigeons, but care is necessary 
when they are hatched, as they run the moment they leave the shell. The 
old birds may be kept in the garden if the wings are clipped, where they 
destroy the insects and worm's ; but they must be brought into the house 
in the winter, and fed at first on bullocks' heart cut in the form of worms, 
then with less care, till by degrees they become accustomed to other meat, 
and even to bread. As these birds are much esteemed game, snares are 
laid for them in places they frequent in large flocks. They are either 
taken in nets, throwing wcrms as baits, or with nooses made of horse hair, 
and set in the paths they trace in the rushes, or, which is cruel and 
destructive, in the neighbourhood of their nests. 


Tringa pugnax, LINNJSUS ; Le Combattant, ou Paon de Mer, BCFFON ; Die 
Kampfhahn, BECHSTEIN. 

THE run 7 is about the size of the lapwing, and is found in 
the north of Europe, near lakes, ponds, and extensive marshes. 
It is almost the only wild bird whose plumage varies like our 
domesticated ones, ash-grey, brown, black, and white, being 
combined in a thousand different ways, so that it is rare to meet 
with two birds alike. The following are the characteristics of 
the species : 1st, a kind of ruff or collar, formed of long 
feathers hanging around the neck, which are raised when the 
bird is angry, and stand out on all sides ; 2nd, the face red, and 
covered with pimples ; the beak and feet also red. 

THE PURR- 299 

The colours of the females are more uniform : pale brown, 
the back streaked with black, the breast and belly white, and 
the neck plain without the ruff. 

It feeds on insects, worms, and roots, and makes its nest in a 
tuft of grass or rushes. The females are tolerably good for the 
table, but the male must be fattened before it is eatable. The 
irritable and quarrelsome disposition of these birds is astonish- 
ing. When two males meet they are often so enraged with 
each other that a net may be passed over them without their 
perceiving it. If several are placed in the same cage, they will 
kill one another. The young ones may easily be reared ; but 
it is extraordinary, that in the house, their inclination to fight 
abandons them; whilst most other birds, pacific in a state or 
freedom, are continually quarrelling and pecking one another 
when confined. It is customary in the duchy of Bremen to 
put these birds into enclosed gardens to destroy worms and 
other insects, but they retire into the house for the winter; 
and here the old ones still quarrel both for food and the place 
they wish to lie down in. They are fed on bread soaked in 
milk, and meat. 


Tringa Cinclus, LINNAEUS ; L'Alouette de Mer, BUFFON ; Der Meerlerche, 

THIS is a marsh bird, about the size of the redwing, and is 
very common on the banks of rivers, lakes, and large ponds. 
When it rises in the air it cries continually " tzi, tzi^ tzi, tzi" 
Its beak is black, and its feet dark brownish green ; the feathers 
on the upper part of the body are grey, glossy, and silky, with 
blackish bands notched on the sides, and bordered on the outer 
edge with rust red ; a whitish streak passes above the eyes, 
whilst a narrow dark brown line crosses them ; the under part 
of the body is pure white, but the breast is striped with dark 
brown ; the quill-feathers are black, the anterior having a broad 
white streak on the inner w r eb, the others having the same on 
the outer web; the greater coverts are tipped with white, 
which form two spots on the wings ; the three middle feathers 
of the tail are grey brown with black bands ; the others are 
white, with dark brown bands. 

The female is rather larger, and her plumage is paler. 


OBSERVATIONS. It is easy to obtain this bird, which has many attractions 
for the amateur. It runs quickly, continually shaking the back part of its 
body, and repeating, particularly towards evening, its loud and tender call, 
" hiduizt." 

When wild it eats insects and worms, found near the water. In the 
house it will soon eat the universal paste, if a few meal-worms and ants' 
eggs are at first thrown amongst it. If there are other birds in the same 
room, the water vessel should be removed from the food, or another vessel 
devoted to it, for not being able to swallow what is not soft, it carries all its 
food to the water to soak, and thus renders it dirty. It catches insects very 
dexterously ; it advances slowly like a cat, its head bent down, and then 
darts forward swiftly and slily. I admire their habits so much that I have 
one generally in my house. I have observed that all the species of snipes 
have the habit of turning over any stones they meet with, to look for 
insects under. It is very easy to take the purr as soon as the stakes, sticks, 
and other places where they most commonly alight, are known ; it is only 
to put bird-lime on them and drive the birds gently towards the part. 
This and the corn crake are the only two marsh birds that should properly 
be reckoned among house-birds. 


Fulica chloropus, LiNiraus ; La Poule d'Eau, BUFFON ; Die griinfussiges 
Meehuhn, BECHSTEIN. 

THE length of this species is ten or twelve inches. The 
beak is greenish at the tip, red towards the base ; the naked 
spaces above the knees are of the same colour ; the feet are 
olive green ; the claws are very long ; the head, the upper part 
of the neck, the body, and the wing- coverts are dark olive 
green ; the anterior quill-feathers and the tail are dark brown ; 
the breast and belly are ash-grey ; the vent and edges of the 
wings are white. 

In the female the beak is olive brown towards the base, 
instead of red. 

OBSERVATIONS. Though not web-footed, this species swims as well as 
those birds that are, and has this advantage over them, that it can rest on 
trees and bushes by the water-side, like land birds, and can also run when 
inclined. Its nest is placed among bushes that are in the water, or on 
reeds, and is built of water plants, especially reeds well interwoven ; it is 
so firmly fastened, that if the water rises it floats, but is not carried away ; 
the eggs are often surrounded with with water. It feeds on insects, seeds, 
and aquatic plants. It is easily tamed, particularly when taken young ; it 
likes white bread soaked in milk. I often have these birds in my poultry- 
yard among my fowls ; they go to a neighbouring pond, and regularly return 
after a short time. I never took any trouble to tame them ; they always 
kept near the water, by the dunghill, seeking after insects and grubs. 


Rallus Crex, LINNJEUS ; Le Rale de Cenet, ou Roi de Cailles, BUFFON ; Der 
Wachtelkonig, BECHSTEIN. 

THE corn crake being always found with quails in propor- 
tionate numbers, departing with them in autumn, and returning 
at the same time in spring, no doubt deserves the name Buffon 
has given it of King of the Quails. It is ten inches in length. 
The beak is flattish, greyish brown above, and bluish red 
beneath ; the feet are lead grey ; the feathers of the head, of 
the back of the neck, of the back, and even of the tail, are 
black, edged with reddish grey ; which gives them the appear- 
ance of being streaked : a grey ash-coloured streak passes above 
the eyes, another below them ; the wing-coverts and anterior 
quill-feathers are chestnut brown ; the front of the neck and 
the breast are dusky ash-grey ; the belly is white, but the 
sides and vent are dark brown, spotted with rusty brown and 

The breast of the female is pale grey, and the streaks near 
her eyes greyish white. 

OBSERVATIONS. The male is often heard uttering his kind of croaking 
notes, " arrp, schnarrp" in the meadows and fields, in the evening and 
at night ; but is rarely seen to fly. It feeds on insects and grain, for which 
bread soaked in milk may be substituted, when it is in the house. The 
female lays from eight to twelve greenish grey eggs, streaked with pale 
brown, on the bare ground ; the young ones, when hatched, are covered 
with a kind of black down, the feathers of varied colours do not appear 
for three weeks. The hen sits with so much constancy, that she will often 
perish by the sithe rather than quit her eggs. The young, like the young 
quails, run under the oat sheaves, and may easily be caught there by 
the hand. 

The agility of these birds, and their pleasing habits, render them much 
admired in the house ; they chirp very much like chickens. I confess I 
like very much to hear the " arrj), schnarrp " of the male in the evening 
near me. 


THE birds arranged in this order are also known, under the 
name of aquatic birds. They are distinguished by their feet, 
the toes being united by a broad membrane, which assists them 
in swimming. Several live uniformly on the water, others in 
companies on the water and on the land. There are many 
that may be tamed, but I shall only speak of those that are 
able to live without being on the water. The number is thus 
confined to six species, easily tamed at any age. 


Anas Olor, LINN/EUS ; Le gigne, BUFFON ; Der Schwan, BECHSTEIN. 

INSTEAD of the common name of tame swan, I prefer that of 
mute swan, in order to distinguish this from the whistling, 
also called the wild swan, but improperly, for in Russia it is 
more common to have that tamed than the one under notice. 
This, however, is found wild throughout most parts of Eu- 
rope, and in great numbers in Siberia. In Germany, when a 
person wishes to have one on a piece of water, and to keep it 
there constantly, he chooses some young ones, and breaks or 
cuts the first bone in the wing, to disable them from flying, 
and consequently prevent their departing in the autumn with 
their wild companions. 

The swan is larger than a domestic goose, it is four feet and 
a half in length, on account of its long neck, which it bends in 
the form of an S when it is swimming ; it measures seven feet 
and a quarter from tip to tip of the wings, and weighs from 
twenty-five to thirty pounds. The beak is dark red, having 
at the base a large black callous knob, and at the tip something 
resembling the head of a nail, black, and rather bent ; a bare 
black triangular streak extends from the beak to the eyes ; the 
feet are black the first year, lead grey the second, and reddish 
lead grey at last ; the plumage is a snowy white. 

OBSERVATIONS. The story of its melodious death-song is now quite ex- 
ploded ; the organisation of its windpipe permits only a slight hiss, a dull 
murmur, and a gentle croaking. Song, properly so called, belongs exclu- 
sively to the whistling swan ; a poet may have heard it once, and without 
observing the difference between the birds, have attributed it to the com- 
mon swan. The later feeds on insects and aquatic plants ; during the 
winter corn should be given it, and it must be kept in a temperate place. 
The female forms a large nest, of the stalks of rushes, reeds, and other 
plants, and lines it with feathers from her breast. She lays six or eight 
greenish white eggs, and sits on them five weeks. During this time, the 
male is always near her, driving away and pursuing all that would approach. 
He has such strength of wing, that a well-aimed blow of it would break a 
man's leg. The young ones are at first grey. It is said that swans will 
live a hundred years. Their utility as well as their beauty would merit 
more attention than is commonly paid to their education, which is easier 
than that of geese. Lithuania, Poland, and eastern Prussia, send several 
quintals every year to the fair of Frankfort upon Oder. Many tame swans 
are also collected on the Sprey, round Berlin, Spandau, and Potsdam ; 
particularly in May, to rob them of their down. The skins with the 
down on them are prepared for pelisses ; powder puffs are also made of it. 



Anas Tadorna, LINNAEUS ; Le Tadorne, BUFFON ; Der Bruntente, BECHSTEIN. 

Tins species measures two feet from the tip of the beak to 
the extremity of the tail ; the beak is smooth, flattish, and of 
a scarlet colour; a fleshy knob covers the upper base; the 
nostrils and nail at the end of the beak are black ; the feet are 
bluish red; the head and upper part of the neck are duck 
green; the rest of the neck and belly are white; a wide 
orange brown band crosses the breast; the back, with the 
wing-coverts, is white; the scapulars are speckled with 
black ; the first quill-feathers are black, the following violet, 
the middle ones rusty brown, and the last white ; the speculum 
is green, reflecting a beautiful violet ; the feathers of the tail 
are white, tipped with black. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species, found in the north of Europe and Asia, 
hollows out the sand by the sea-shore, or uses a forsaken rabbit's hole, 
or some cavity in a rock, to form its nest in. The beauty of its plumage 
has attracted the attention of amateurs, who tame it, and keep it in the 
poultry-yard ; but it is not useful, its flesh having an unpleasant smell and 
flavour. It feeds with the other ducks, and becomes very familiar ; it 
ever appears intelligent. 


Anas anser ferus, LINNAEUS ; L'Oie sauvage, BUFFON ; Der wilde Cans, BECHSTEIN. 

THIS is the parent stock of our domestic goose, and though 
smaller, it has a longer neck and larger wings. The upper 
part of the body is brownish grey, the under part is greyish 
white ; the breast is clouded with rusty brown ; the beak is 
orange and black ; the feet are red. Several domestic geese pre- 
serve this original plumage, even to the colours of the beak. 

OBSERVATIONS. This species frequents the shores of the North Sea 
during the summer ; but in autumn departs in large flights disposed in a 
triangular form, and passes the winter in more southern countries, feeding 
on the blades of newly-sprung rye. 

There are places in Thuringia where thousands of these birds collect in 
winter ; they are very distrustful, placing sentinels as soon as they alight, 
which are so watchful, that it is very difficult to take or shoot them. If 
by chance the wing of one of these geese is shot, it may easily be kept in 
the yard with poultry; they are also taken in snares laid in places 
frequented by them during the night; they associate without difficulty 
with the domestic geese ; but I only know one instance of a wild male 
pairing with a domesticated female. 



Anas marila, LINNAEUS ; Le Milloninan, BCFFON ; Der Bergente, BECHSTKIN. 

THIS species, like the former, passes in autumn from the 
north to the south. They are caught and shot among the 
common wild ducks. The scaup duck may be tamed so far 
as to remain sociably among the domestic ones, will eat bread 
soaked in water, oats, and barley ; in short, all that is given 
to common ducks. Its size also is similar, but it is black, 
with the belly and speculum white ; five black transverse lines 
unite on the white ground of the upper part of the body ; the 
wings and tail are dusky. 


Anas Boschas fera, LINNJFUS ; Le Cancel sauvage, BUFFON ; Der wilde Ente, 

OUR domestic ducks derive their origin from this species. 
It is spread throughout Europe on lakes, ponds, and rivers. 
Its length is two feet; its plumage ash grey, striped and 
waved transversely with white and brown ; the head and neck 
are bright green, known by the name of duck-green; the 
breast is chestnut brown ; the speculum violet green. The 
female is brown, like a lark. 

OBSERVATIONS. Like other birds of the same order, the wild ducks 
unite in large flights in the autumn, but divide into pairs in summer, and 
build their nests either near the water, among the reeds and bushes, in 
the trunks of old trees, or sometimes even in the depths of woods. They 
lay from twelve to sixteen eggs. In the forest districts of Thuringia, 
the young ones are met with in considerable numbers, being led to a 
neighbouring pond by the parent birds. If, after having mutilated or 
lamed the end of the wing, they are put into a pond with domestic ducks, 
they live and pair with them, become accustomed to their mode of life, 
follow them in winter into the house, without any decoy but being fed 
plentifully. Wild ducks are taken in nets, snares, and even with 

By pairing a mallard with a female domestic duck, a very fine middle 
race is obtained, which remains domestic *. 

* A great many mallards are half domesticated on the water in St. James's 

Park, London, and other similar places in England TRANSLATOR. 




Larus tridactylus, LINN.KUS; Larus rissa, cinereus et naevius, LINNAEUS; La 
Monette cendree, BUFFON ; Der Wintermeeve, BECHSTEIN. 

THESE birds, about fourteen inches in length, change their 
plumage till they are four years old, which occasions great 
variety. In the old ones, the beak is yellowish green on the 
outside, and orange within ; the feet are olive, and are with- 
out the back toe ; the head, throat, neck, the rest of the upper 
part of the body, and the tail, are white. There is often a 
blackish streak behind the ear; the back and wing-coverts 
are pale grey or bluish ; the quill-feathers are white ; the 
primaries are tipped with black : those that have a dark grey 
crescent on the neck have not attained their fourth year ; those 
streaked are young ones. 

OBSERVATIONS. The tarrocks remain in the north of Europe during 
summer, and go south in winter. In February, when snow comes after 
mild weather, great numbers are seen to stop on the ponds and rivers in 
Germany, where many perish; they may then be taken with nets and 
snares placed on the banks, after removing the snow. Though their 
proper food is fish and aquatic insects, they are contented, in the poultry- 
yard, with bread and other food ; are easily tamed, and live equally well 
on the water or the land ; in winter, they should be kept in a moderately 
warm situation ; they may even be left in the court, driving them in the 
evening into the place appropriated to them for the night. 


Accentor modular it, Bechstein, 228 
Alauda alpestris, Linnaeus, 184 
Alauda arborea, Linnaeus, 179 
Alauda arvensis, Linnaeus, 174 
Alauda Calandra, Linnaeus, 185 
Alauda cristata, Linnaeus, 178 
Alcedo Ispida, Linnaeus, 83 
Amandava, 104 

Ampelis garrulus, Linnaeus, 188 
Anthus arbor eus, Bechstcin, 182 
Anthus campestrig, Bechstein, 184 
Arbour Bird, 255 

Babillard, 247 
Blackbird, 198 
Blackbird (Ring), 200 
Blackbonnet, 121 
Blackcap, 222 
Black Stork, 296 
Blue-Breast, 233 
Bohemian Chatterer, 188 
Bullfinch, 92 
Bunting (Corn), 116 
Bunting (Dominican), 125 
Bunting (Foolish), 120 
Bunting (Mountain), 114 
Bunting (Painted), 127 
Bunting (Reed), 121 
Bunting (Shaft-tailed), 125 
Bunting (Snow), 112 
Bunting (Sparrow), 123 
Bunting (Whidah), 124 
Butcher-bird (Great), 31 


Calandra Lark, 185 
Canary, 138 
Carrion Crow, 39 
Ceram Lory, 73 

Chaffinch, 128 
Chiff-Chaff (Common), 258 
Chiff-Chaff (Rufous), 261 
Cinclus aquaticus, Bechstein, 190 
Cirl-Bunting, Latham, 119 
Cockatoo (Banksian), 70 * 
Cockatoo (Great red-crested), 69 
Cockatoo (Great White), 68 
Cockatoo (Lesser White), 69 
Cockatoo (Red-vented), 70 
Columba Palumbus, Linnaeus, 285 
Columba risoria, Linnaeus, 287 
Columba Turlur, Linnaeus, 286 
Common Partridge, 290 
Common Quail, 291 
Common Snipe, 297 
Coracias ciarrula, Linnaeus, 44 
Corn Crake, 300 

Corvus Caryocatactes, Linnaeus, 42 
Corvus Corax, Linnaeus, 37 
Corvus Comix, Linnaeus, 39 
Corvus Corone, Linnaeus, 39 
Corvus frugilegus , Linnaeus, 39 
Corvus glandarius, Linnaeus, 4(1 
Corvus Monedula, Linnaeus, 40 
Corvus Pica, Linnaeus, 43 
Crossbill, 89 
Cuckoo, 51 

Cuculus canorus, Linnaeus, 61 
Cuculus Persa, Linnaeus, 82 
Curruca garrula, Briseon, 249 
Cushat, 285 


Dipper, 190 
Doves, 2ff4 
Dominican, 106 
Dunncock, 228 

Emberiza Cia, Linnaeus, 120 
Emberiza Ciris, Linnaeus, 127 
Emberiza Cirlus, Linnaeus,! 19 



Emberiza citrinella, Linnaeus, 114 
Fmberiza cyanea, Linnaeus, 126 
Emberiza Elceathorax, 119 
Emberiza hortulana, Linnaeus, ] 17 
Emberiza miliaria, Linnaeus, 116 
Emberiza montana, Linnaeus, 114 
Emberiza nivalis, Linnaeus, 112 
Emberiza paradisea, Linnaeus, 124 
Emberiza passerina, Linnaeus, 123 
Emberiza regia, Linnaeus, 125 
Emberiza Schceniclus, Linnaeus, 121, 

Emberiza serena, Linnaeus, 125 


Falco tinnunculus, Linnaeus, 27 

Fauvette, 225 

Fieldfare, 195 

Finch (Angola), 172 

Finch (Banded), 110 

Finch (Blue), 108 

Finch (Blue-bellied), 171 

Finch (Brazilian), 171 

Finch (Brown-cheeked), 111 

Finch (Caffrarian), 108 

Finch (Cape), 107 

Finch (Citril), 156 

Finch (Glossy), 169 

Finch (Lapland), 156 

Finch (Liver-brown), 172 

Finch (Malacca), 111 

Finch (Mountain), 136 

Finch (Purple), 169 

Finch (Snow), 157 

Flusher, 35 

Fringilla amandava, Linnaeus, 104 

Fringilla Angolensis, Linnaeus, 172 

Fringilla Bengalus, Linnaeus, 171 

Fringilla Canaria, Linnaeus, 158 

Fringilla cannabina, Linnaeus, 140 

Fringilla Carduelis, Linnaeus, 146 

Fringilla citrinella, Linnaeus, 156 

Fringilla Calebs, Linnaeus, 128 

Fringilla cyanea, Wilson, 126 

Fringilla Granatina, Linnaeus, 1?1 

Fringilla hepatica, Linnaeus, 172 

Fringilla Laponica, 156 

Fringilla Linaria, Linnaeus, 144 

Fringilla Linota, Linnaeus, 140 

Fringilla Melba, Linnaeus, 173 

Fringilla montana, Linnaeus, 140 

Fringilla montifringilla, Linnaeus, 1 

Fringilla nitens, Linnaeus, 169 

Fringilla nivalis, Linnaeus, 157 

Fringilla petronia, Linnaeus, 153 
Fringilla pur pur ea, Linnaeus, 169 
Fringilla serinus, Linnaeus, 154 
Fringilla Spinus, Linnaeus, 151 
Fringilla tristis, Linnaeus, 170 

Golden Oriole, 46 

Goldfinch, 146 

Goldfinch (American), 170 

Goldfinch (Green), 173 

Gowry Bird, 110 

Graccula religiosa, Linnaeus, 52 

Grakle (Minor), 52 

Grasshopper Bird, 265 

Green Bird, 97 

Grenadier, 106 

Grosbeak (Cardinal), 102 

Grosbeak (Paradise), 105 

Grosbeak (Pine), 99 

Grosbeak (Yellow-bellied), 109 

Guinea-Sparrow, 64 


Hawfinch, 100 
Hay-Bird, 262 
Hooded Crow, 39 
Hoopoe, 48 


Indigo Bird, 126 
Jackdaw, 40 
Jay, 40 

Kestril, 27 

Kingfisher (Common), 83 

Lanius erythrocephalvs, Linnaeus, 34 
Lanius Excubitor, Linnaeus, 31 
Lanius minor, Linnaeus, 32 
Lanius spinitorquus, Bechstein, 35 
Lapwing, 297 
Large-beaked Birds, 54 
Lark (Crested), 178 
Lark (Shore), 184 
Lark (Sky), 174 
Lark (Wood), 179 



Linnet (Common), 140 
Little Owl, 29 
Little Shrike, 32 
LocusteUa avicula, Ray, 265 
Lory (Black-capped), 74 
Lory (Blue-capped), 73 
Loxia Aslrild, Linnaeus, 103 
Loxia Caff r a, Linnaeus, 108 
Loxia canora, Linnaeus, 111 
Loxia Capensis, Linnaeus, 107 
Loxia Cardinalis, Linnaeus, 102 
Loxia Chloris, Linnaeus, 97 
Loxia coccothraustes, Linnaeus, 100 
Loxia caerulea, Linnaeus, 108 
Loxia curvirostra, Linnaeus, 89 
Loxia Dominicana, Linnaeus, 106 
Loxia, Enuclator, Linnaeus, 99 
Loxia erythrocephala, Linnaeus, 105 
Loxia fasciata, Linnaeus, 110 
Loxia flaviventris, Linnaeus, 109 
Loxia Malacca, Linnaeus, 111 
Loxia orix, Linnaeus, 106 
Loxia orycivora, Linnaeus, 102 
Loxia punctularia, Linnaeus, 110 
Loxia pyrrhula, Linnaeus, 92 
Loxia sanguinirostris, Linnaeus, 105 


Maccaw (Blue and Yellow), 57 
Magpie, 43 
Mallard, 305 
Moor Hen, 300 
Motacilla alba, Linnaeus, 235 
Molacilla Boarula, Linnaeus, 237 
Motacilla dumetorum, Linnaeus, 247 
Motacilla fiava, Linnaeus, 238 
Motacilla Fruticeti, Linnaeus, 227 
Motacilla Luscinia, Linnaeus, 206 
Motacilla Luscinia major, Linnaeus, 


Motacilla (Enantke, Linnaeus, 239 
Motacilla Phcenicurus, Linnaeus, 252 
Motacilla Regulus, Linnaeus, 270 
Motacilla rubecula, Linnaeus, 230 
Motacilla Rubetra, Linnaeus, 241 
Motacilla Suecica, Linnaeus, 233 
Motacilla Tithys, Linnaeus, 250' 
Motacilla Troglodytes, Linnaeus, 269 


Nightingale, 206 
Nightingale (Greater), 220 
Nut-Cracker, 42 
Nuthatch, 85 


Oriolus Galbula, Linnaeus, 46 
Ortolan, 117 
Oxeye, 274 


Parrakeet (Blossom-headed), Latham, 


Parrakeet (blue and green), 66 
Parrakeet (Borneo), 63 
Parrakeet (green, long-tailed), 58 
Parrakeet (red and blue headed), 67 
Parrakeet (red-crescented), 67 
Parrakeet (red-headed Guinea), 63 
Parrakeet (rose-headed ring), 62 
Parrakeet (rose-ringed), 64 
Parrot (Amboina), 59 
Parrot (ash-coloured), 71 
Parrot (blue-faced), 75 
Parrot (blue-headed), 59 
Parrot (Cardinal), 62 
Parrot (Carolina), 65 
Parrot (Common Amazon), 75 
Parrot (grey-breasted), 66 
Parrot (Illinois), 57 
Parrot (Pavouan), 64 
Parrot (purple), 60 
Parrot (whiskered), 61 
Parrot (white-fronted), 74 
Parrot (yellow-headed Amazon), 76 
Parrot (yellow), 59 
Parus ater, Linnaeus, 277 
Parus biarmicus, Linnaeus, 282 
Parus coeruleus, Linnaeus, 278 
Parus cristatus, Linnaeus, 281 
Parus major, Linnaeus, 274 
Parus palustris, Linnaeus, 280 
Passer domestica, Ray, 137 
Passer montana, Ray, 139 
Passerine Birds, 88 
Picus major, Linnaeus, 79 
Picus medius, Linnaeus, 80 
Picus minor, Linnaeus, 80 
Picus viridis, Linnaeus, 78 
Pies, 31 

Pipit (Field), 184 
Psittacus cestivus, Linnaeus, 75 
Psittacus Amboinensis, Linnaeus, 59 
Psittacus autumnalis, Linnaeus, 75 
Psittacus Ararauna, Linnaeus, 57 
Psittacus Banksii, Linnaeus, 70 
Psittacus bimaculatus, Sparnnann, 61 
Psitlacus canicularis, Linnaens, 67 
Psittacus Carolinensis, Linnaeus, 65 

310 INDEX. 

Psittacus cristatus, Linnieus, 68 
Psittacus cyanocephalus, Linnaeus, 59 
Psittacus domicilla, Linnaeus, 73 
Psittacus erithacus, Linnaeus, 71 
Psittacus erythrocephalus Bengalensis, 

Linnaeus, 62 
Psittacus erythrocephalus Borneus, 

Linnaeus, 63 
Psittacus trythrocephalus, Linnaeus, 


Psittacus garrulus, Linnaeus, 73 
Psittacus garrulus Aurora;, Linnaeus, 


Psittacus Guianentis, Linnaeus, 64 
Psittacus leucocephalus, Linnaeus, 74 
Psittacus Lory, Linnaeus, 74 
Psittacus Ludovicianus, Linnaeus, 65 
Psittacus lunatus, Bechstein, 67 
Psittacus Macac, Linnaeus, 54 
Psittacus Manillensis, Bechstein, 63 
Psittacus Moluccensis, Linnaeus, 69 
Psittacus murinus, Linnaeus, 66 
Psittacus nobilis, Linnaeus, 76 
Psittacus ochrocephalus, Gmelin, 76 
Psittacus passerinus, Linnaeus, 66 
Psittacus Pennanti, Latham, 60 
Psittacus pertinax, Linnaeus, 57 
Psittacus Philippinarum, Linnaeus, 70 
Psittacus pullarius, Linnaeus, 64 
Psittacus rufirostris, Linnaeus, 58 
Psittacus solstitialis, Linnaeus, 59 
Psittacus sulphureus, Linnaeus, 69 
Purr, 299 


Ramphastos picatus, Linnaeus, 77 
Ramphastos piscivorus, Linnaeus, 77 
Ramphastos Tucanus, Linnaeus, 76 
Raven, 37 

Red and Blue Maccaw, 55 
Redbill, 105 
Red-Breast, 230 
Redpole (Lesser), 144 
Redstart (Black), 250 
Redstart (Common), 252 
Redwing, 196 
Reed Bird, 282 
Reed Warbler, 266 
Ring Dove, 285 

Ring Parrakeet (Rose-headed), La- 
tham, 62 

Roller, 44 . - 

Rose Ousel, 197 
Ruff, 298 

Scaup Duck, 305 

Serin-finch, 154 

Sheldrake, 304 

Siskin, 151 

Sitta Europcea, Linnabus, 85 

Sparrow (House), 137 

Sparrow (Java), 102 

Sparrow (Ring), 153 

Sparrow (Tree), 139 

Starling, 186 

Strix passerina, Linnaeus, 29 

Sturnus collaris, Linnaeus, 273 

Sturnus vulgaris, Linnaeus, 186 

Swan, 303 

Sylvia arundinacea, Latham, 266 

Sylvia atricapilla, Bechstein, 222 

Sylvia cinerea, Bechstein, 244 

Sylvia Curruca, Bechstein, 247 

Sylvia Fitis, Bechstein, 262 

Sylvia Hippolais, Montagu, 258; 

Bechstein, 255 

Sylvia hortensis, Latham, 225 
Sylvia icterina, Vieillot, 258 
Sylvia Locustella, Latham, 265 
Sylvia Loquax, Herbert, 258 
Sylvia Phragmitis, Bechstein, 268 
Sylvia polyglotta, Ranzani, 255 
Sylvia rufa, Bechstein, 261 
Sylvia salicaria, Latham, 268 
Sylvia sibilatrix, Bechstein, 263 
Sylvia Trochilus, Latham, 262, 263 


Tarrock, 306 

Thrush (Blue), 204 

Thrush (Missel), 191 

Thrush (Reed), 204 

Thrush (Rock), 201 

Thrush (Solitary), 203 

Thrush (Song), 193 

Tit (Bearded), 282 

Tit (Blue), 278 

Tit (Cole), 277 

Tit (Crested), 281 

Tit (Greater), 274 

Titlark, 182 

Tit (Marsh), 280 

Tom Tit, 278 

Tourako, 82 

Tucan (Brazilian), 77 

Tucan (Preacher), 77 

Tucan (Yellow-breasted), 76 



Turdus arwvdinaceus, Linnaeus, 204, 


Turdus cyaneus, Linnaeus, 204 
Turdus lliacus, Linnaeus, 196 
Turdus merula, Linnaeus, 198 
Turdus musicus, Linnams, 193 
Turdus pilaris, Linnaeus, 195 
Turdus roseus, Linnaeus, 197 
Turdus saxatilis, Linnaeus, 201 
Turdus solitarius, Linnaeus, 203 
Turdus torquatus, Linnaeus, 200 
Turdus viscivorus, Linnaeus, 191 
Turtle (Collared), 287 
Turtle Dove, 286 


Upupa Epops, Linnaeus, 48 


Wagtail (Common), 235 
Wagtail (Grey), 237 
Wagtail (Yellow), 238 

Warbler (Alpine), 273 

Warblers, 174 

Waxbill, 103 

Wheatear, 239 

Whinchat, 241 

Whitebreast, 227 

Whitethroat, 244 

White Stork, 295 

Wild Goose, 304 

Woodchat, 34 

Woodcock, 296 

Woodpecker (Greater-spotted), 79 

Woodpecker (Green), 78 

Woodpecker (Lesser spotted), 80 

Woodpecker (Middle spotted), 80 

Woodpeckers, 78 

Wren, 269 

Wren (Gold-crested), 270 

Wren (Willow), 262 

Wren (Wood), 263 

Wryneck, 81 


Yellowhammer, 114 

Tunx torquilla, Linnaeus, 81 






This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 


IP 1 3 i960 



REC. CIR. DEC 1 2 

LD 21A-50m-4,'60 

General Library 

Univernty of California